Legislation Proposing AI Working Group Passes Senate

Published On: May 26, 2023

Senate Bill 721, authored by Senator Josh Becker, which proposes to create the California Interagency AI Working Group, passed the Senate this week on a 38-0 vote.  The bill now heads to the Assembly to continue through the legislative process.

SB 721 California establishes the Interagency Artificial Intelligence (AI) Working Group, which would consist of 11 members with diverse backgrounds in IT.

The working group would be required to provide a report to the Legislature on AI, receive input from a broad variety of stakeholders, and recommend a working definition of AI.

According to the bill, the group would have a sunset date of Jan. 1, 2030. 

“AI is a rapidly developing area of technology that is already integrated into most parts of our everyday life, including voice assistants (e.g., Apple’s Siri feature), personalized student learning, spam filters, facial recognition, and much more . . . However, this bill gives us an opportunity to look at the impact of AI holistically and suggest guardrails to protect against misuse and manipulation for both state agencies and the general public.”

The bill notes some of the pitfalls with AI, such as its potential for bias, privacy violations, and unintended consequences should there be a lack of safeguards and oversight, according to a Senate analysis.

AI has already found its way into government services: tools that can analyze X-rays, optimize transportation, and even manage natural resources. 

Still, the state has to balance AI’s potential for good with the aforementioned risks as well as the potential for job displacement.


About the Author: Will Keys

Will Keys writes about technology issues for the GovReport. He is a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at will at govreport.org