Maine’s top legislators considered the appeal on Thursday of a bill concerning the use of advanced Artificial Intelligence (A.I) in state decision-making.
The Bill — “An Act to Ensure Determinations Made by the State Are Free from Unethical,
Unsafe or Illegal Interference by Artificial Intelligence” — was proposed by Sen. Nicole Grohoski (D-Hancock)
The proposal failed with four “yes” votes and six “no” votes.
Every Republican on the council, as well as two Democrats, voted against Grohoski’s bill.
Sen. Grohoski said that her bill warranted emergency status.
“Senator Grohoski considers this bill an emergency, because we are currently in a moment of rapid innovative competition. The longer we wait to consider government use of A.I the harder it will be to correct underlying problems built into systems,” said Sen. Mattie Daughtry (D-Cumberland), speaking on behalf of Grohoski.
The bill would have prevented all state agencies from using Advanced A.I, such as Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer (ChatGPT), in any decision making process without safeguards first being established to prevent the A.I from violating legal or ethical standards.
The bill also would have guaranteed transparency in decisions made using A.I, after the proposed safeguards had been put in place.
Grohoski’s bill “guarantees all citizens affected by the software accessible and
affordable ways to understand, review and appeal decisions made by the system.”
Sen. Lisa Keim (R-Oxford) said she opposed the bill because she believed that basic online privacy rights should be secured for Mainers before the legislature moves on to the further consideration of Advanced A.I.
“We right now are deeply embedded into trying to figure out really basic privacy protections for the people of Maine and we haven’t even gotten that far,” said Sen. Keim.
She said legislation regarding A.I. should be considered in the future, and she hopes that it can be addressed after the legislature passes laws governing basic online privacy.
“Hopefully next session, Senator Grohoski or somebody will bring back that type of legislation because it’s really needed,” Keim said.
Rep. Amy Arata (R-New Gloucester) said A.I. reglations were beyond the purview of state government.
“As for AI in general, this is something beyond the purview of a small state government, as we don’t have the technological resources to deal with something so complex without spending substantial tax dollars, ” said Arata.