Hearing Conclusion: White House’s Overbroad and Overbroad Reporting Requirements AI EO Will Stifle US Innovation – US House Oversight and Accountability Committee

WASHINGTONThe Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation held a hearing titled “White House Overreach on AI.” Subcommittee members discussed how the Biden Administrations executive order (EO) on AI will affect US innovation and leadership. Members of the subcommittee highlighted provisions of the EO that lack statutory authority, undermine the role of Congress, and establish harsh controls on industry.

Key Points:

President Bidens EO on artificial intelligence is a clear example of executive overreach and threatens to hinder American leadership in AI development.

  • Jennifer Huddleston, technology policy researcher at the Cato Institute, spoke about the regulatory dangers of the Biden EO that would harm America’s leadership in AI: America has an opportunity to distinguish itself from more prescriptive approaches once again and embrace an approach that empowers businesses and consumers to use technology to find creative solutions to problems and needs. The recent AI executive order, however, signals a more regulatory approach to this new technology.
  • Adam Thierer, Senior Fellow in Technology and Innovation at the R Street Institute, discussed the ramifications of the Biden administration’s EO and explained why the U.S. should have a framework geared toward AI innovation: First, the United States needs a national pro-innovation policy framework for artificial intelligence (AI) that builds on the winning bipartisan vision Congress created for the Internet and digital technology in the 1990s Second, if we fail to get this AI policy framework right, it will have profound consequences for America’s global competitive advantage and geopolitical security. Third, the recent AI executive order from the Biden administrations does not replace this necessary national policy framework and, even worse, could undermine this goal.

Biden’s EO improperly invokes the Defense Production Act’s (DPA) wartime emergency powers to compel information from private companies that would cripple States’ AI development and advancement united

  • Neil Chilson, head of AI policy at the Abundance Institute, warned that misuse of the DPA in the EO will hurt AI developers in the US: The Biden administration does not use the DPA to stimulate the production of AI or computer facilities for government use and to support national security. Instead, the EO deploys the DPA to demand highly confidential documents from companies that may not even have a contractual relationship with the government and to push for the adoption of government-mandated quality control measures for products commercially available for use by ordinary Americans and businesses.

Member Highlights:

Cybersecurity, Information Technology and Government Innovation Subcommittee Chairwoman Nancy Mace (RS.C.) discussed the damaging reporting requirements to Bidens EO and the consequences they would have.

Receive Mace: My first question is that the Commerce Department failed to protect Secretary Raimondos’ own email account from being hacked last year. However, this EO requires companies to share with the agency on a daily basis the crown jewel secrets of the most powerful AI systems on earth. First question, can we trust Commerce to ensure that this highly sensitive data does not fall into the hands of China or another foreign adversary?

Mr. Thierer: No.

Mrs Huddleston: I think we’ve seen that there’s a greater need for discussion about improving cybersecurity in government and beyond.

Mr. Chilson: No, and we shouldn’t.

Receive Mace: Should AI model developers give the government all their test results and test data, even those related to politics and religion?

Mr. Thierer: No.

Mrs Huddleston: I think it is a very worrying proposal with important consequences for innovation.

Mr. Chilson: No.

Rep. William Timmons (RS.C.) highlighted the impact of EO reporting requirements on US innovation.

Deputy Timmons: So all the reporting requirements, doesn’t that hold back innovation? There are many proprietary approaches to this, will it stifle innovation?

Mr. Chilson: I think it could dampen innovation in a couple of different ways. First, when companies are thinking about what sensitive data they will have to report to the government, they will have to make a trade-off. We will grow enough to reach the limits that we exceed this notification threshold or we will stay below this threshold or we will artificially limit ourselves so that we do not have to meet these specific rules. And I think that would be detrimental to American leadership in AI.

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) discussed the inappropriate use of the Defense Production Act to regulate private industry.

Deputy Burchett: Do you think that using the Defense Production Act (DPA) to regulate artificial intelligence is a bit of a stretch and that Congress would be better suited to regulate artificial intelligence?

Mr. Thierer: Yes, deputy, I think that is correct. The authority starts here to decide what the Defense Production Act should do and now I think we are witnessing a pretty excessive overreach of the statute.

Deputy Burchett: Do you all think this executive order could stifle AI innovation?

Mr. Chilson: I do, and I think the use of the DPA here undermines some of the other important goals that Congresswoman Pressley was pointing out about government uses and the risks of government uses of AI.

CLICK HERE to view the hearing.

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