The Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee held a work session on Friday, December 1, and the hot topic of the day was artificial intelligence (AI). Senator Joe Nguyen (D, 34th LD), chair of the committee, is deeply interested in AI and has been discussing the topic broadly over the interim, including the creation of an AI stakeholder group in which WR participates. The goal of the work session was to advance the discussion of AI and to explore benefits and concerns.
Stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, as well as advocacy groups, spoke about AI and answered questions from committee members. Most notable among those who presented included Microsoft, Salesforce, WaTech, and the ACLU. The message from presenters ranged from concerns that legislation would stem and prevent responsible innovation to the need for ethical and safety considerations.
An “AI Task Force” bill proposed by the Attorney General’s Office is set to be introduced this coming session. The bill calls for the creation of a large-scale task force consisting of stakeholders from a variety of industries, sectors, and advocacy groups and would be a 1–2-year study of AI that would then provide recommendations to the legislature on how to proceed with AI Based on the feedback from presenters, the task force bill is likely to advance during the session.
WR has held discussions with Senator Nguyen regarding the task force and other proposed AI-related bills and will be speaking to the WR Board of Directors on December 11.
In addition to meeting with legislators, WR has taken a proactive approach to this and future AI legislation by developing an AI workgroup. The workgroup has met several times during the interim and plans to continue regular meetings to keep members apprised of the introduction and advancement of AI legislation.
If you have an interest in joining the workgroup, please email Crystal Leatherman at [email protected].