The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) has not only offered new developments in technology and science but also prompted concerns regarding its impact on commerce and privacy, among other issues. For that reason, the United States is exploring the actions it can take with an AI advisory committee that will continue to inform the government of new developments in artificial intelligence as the technology develops. AI can solve a wide range of problems, from uncovering the identities of anonymous internet users to even predicting the weather with astounding success. The question arises: what should artificial intelligence be used for, and how should the United States regulate it?

For private technology companies, the answer to these questions is simple. Artificial intelligence can permit computer processes to succeed in scenarios where they otherwise would be impossible, and companies — like Meta — hope to capitalize on its potential. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, aims to use artificial intelligence to power its metaverse. The proposed technology is human-level AI, which means it would be autonomous to the point where it could observe its environment and learn from it. A computer that is intelligent enough to adapt to new situations without direct human involvement could solve key problems but could also create them. That’s precisely why the United States is planning to regulate artificial intelligence and create a national agenda for the technology.

Related: Why Scientists Say Super-Intelligent AIs Will Be Impossible To Control

The United States’ first step in regulating artificial intelligence began in 2020 when the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act was submitted as a bill to the House of Representatives. However, the bill didn’t become law until a year later, when it was passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year of 2021. Aside from assigning duties to specific committees regarding the regulation of artificial intelligence, the legislation attempts to define the technology. As defined by the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act, artificial intelligence is “a machine-based system that can, for a given set of human-defined objectives, make predictions, recommendations or decisions influencing real or virtual environments.” In addition, the legislation specifies that characteristics of AI include the ability to perceive real and virtual environments, analyze those perceptions, and apply the analysis to automated computations.

The U.S. Created Committees To Regulate AI

The face of artificial intelligence

The legislation enacted in 2021 has a twofold purpose of tackling the emerging problems concerning artificial intelligence. It is both tasked with determining how the United States should regulate the technology and how it should research and develop artificial intelligence. To handle matters concerning regulation, the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force (NAIRRTF) was created to observe artificial intelligence’s effects on U.S. citizens. While there are benefits to AI, there can also be disadvantages — like the creepy facial recognition technology that follows people nearly everywhere. According to the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office, the NAIRRTF will manage the issues of “privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties” as they relate to artificial intelligence.

Another facet of the legislation is the National AI Advisory Committee, which reports directly to the president and comprises industry specialists in the artificial intelligence field. The U.S. Department of Commerce announced the first 27 members of the committee on Thursday, April 14, 2022. Among the committee members are AI professionals from the likes of Google, Microsoft and Amazon. In addition to the industry leaders in the private sector, the committee also provides academic experts from big-name schools like Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University. A subcommittee on law enforcement will also be under the advisory committee’s purview, which concerns any matter relating to artificial intelligence’s use in law enforcement. According to the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office, key issues relating to AI in policing include bias, data security and legal standards.

The task forces and committees created by the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act will shape the United States’ agenda toward artificial intelligence. The committees provide multiple perspectives, hosting both the corporate executives pioneering the new technology and the academics that will critique it. The various committees will report directly to the President of the United States, who will direct the country’s national agenda on AI based on their findings. As artificial intelligence develops, the U.S. is prepared to adapt to any new changes that prompt regulation.