In the wake of growing concern about the possible misuse of artificial intelligence, U.S. Sen. Angus King and three other lawmakers unveiled a proposal to create federal oversight of the burgeoning field.

The two-term Maine independent outlined a proposal Tuesday to the Senate’s artificial intelligence working group in a letter co-signed by Sens. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican; Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island; and Jerry Moran, a Republican from Kansas.

The bipartisan plan marks the first Senate effort to offer a wide-ranging framework to guard against the biological, chemical, cyber and nuclear threats connected to the advance of artificial intelligence.

King said in a prepared statement that “in the ever-evolving global threat landscape, the United States has to stay one step ahead of new technologies to protect both our national security and interests at home and abroad — and that means moving carefully, warily, and thoughtfully into an artificial intelligence future.”

Bipartisan Ai Framework Letter by Maine Trust For Local News on Scribd

“This AI framework provides critical guidelines for federal oversight of AI technology so that it cannot be misused by bad actors looking to cause harm,” King said. “We must ask important questions now to wisely navigate our next steps and decisions.”


The letter outlines a framework for a tiered licensing structure that would allow high-risk artificial intelligence uses only after federal vetting.

It mulls the possibility of creating a new federal agency or interagency task force to oversee the work, with the involvement of “subject matter experts.”

Romney, the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2012, said in a prepared statement, “My colleagues and I have spent the last several months developing a framework which would create safeguards and provide oversight of frontier AI models aimed at preventing foreign adversaries and bad actors from misusing advanced AI to cause widespread harm.”

“It is my hope,” Romney said, “that our proposal will serve as a starting point for discussion on what actions Congress should take on AI — without hampering innovation.”

Moran said the four senators “developed this proposal to begin the discussion regarding how the U.S. can mitigate national security risks in a manner that ensures innovators are still able to secure a competitive edge over our adversaries in this critical technology area.”

“We can’t wait to act,” Reed said. “Responsible oversight must keep pace with technology and responsibly support innovation, opportunity, and discovery.”


“While AI has massive potential to benefit society, we must recognize AI’s security threats and ethical issues to ensure it’s adopted in a manner that recognizes and mitigates these risks,” Reed said.

A Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight hearing in September heard testimony from government experts who warned “that advanced AI models could facilitate or assist in the development of extreme national security risks, and that the U.S. government may lack authorities to adequately respond to such risks posed by broadly capable, general purpose frontier AI models,” according to the senators’ letter.

“In a worst-case scenario, these models could one day be leveraged by terrorists or adversarial nation state regimes to cause widespread harm or threaten U.S. national security,” it said.

Their letter concluded with the observation that America’s “private sector is the engine that makes our economy the envy of the world. Whatever Congress does to address the risks of AI, we must ensure that our domestic AI industry is able to develop and maintain an advantage over foreign adversaries.”

“We also must ensure that any new requirements placed on industry do not bar new entrants, who will help drive innovation and discovery,” it said.

“We hope this letter generates engagement and feedback from experts, industry, policymakers, and other stakeholders in the weeks to come, which will be necessary for us to create a framework that can become law,” it said.

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