In a significant move to address the challenges and opportunities presented by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson is collaborating with lawmakers to introduce a bipartisan AI Task Force in the 2024 state Legislative session. This initiative, spearheaded by Sen. Joe Nguyen, D-White Center, and Rep. Travis Couture, R-Allyn, aims to ensure that Washington remains at the forefront of technological innovation while addressing the ethical implications of AI.
The proposed task force, as outlined in Senate Bill 5838 and House Bill 1934, will be a 42-member bipartisan group. It will include members from the Legislature, state agencies, tribes, technology experts, civil liberty advocates, consumer advocates, businesses, and other stakeholders. This diverse team will work together to explore the benefits and risks associated with AI, engaging in discussions with industry representatives, civil liberty groups, and subject matter experts. Their goal is to provide well-rounded recommendations to the Legislature.
Attorney General Ferguson emphasized the importance of embracing new technology thoughtfully, highlighting the need to balance innovation with responsible use. He stressed the significance of protecting against potential irresponsible applications and unintended consequences of AI.
Additionally, House Bill 1951, titled “AN ACT Relating to promoting ethical artificial intelligence by protecting against algorithmic discrimination,” aims to address the issue of algorithmic discrimination in AI. This act seeks to regulate AI use in critical decision-making processes, including hiring, education, housing, healthcare, and criminal justice proceedings. The focus is on mitigating the inherent biases that may exist in AI programs, which could significantly impact the lives of Washington residents.
The task force is scheduled to meet at least twice a year and is expected to deliver a preliminary report to the Governor and the Legislature by December 1, 2025, with final findings and recommendations due by June 1, 2027. This initiative marks a proactive step towards ensuring that AI development and deployment in Washington are both innovative and ethically responsible. Crystal Leatherman provides video update on this important topic.