Increases in Global Artificial Intelligence Legislation Noted in AI Report

Morgan Lewis - Tech & Sourcing
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Morgan Lewis - Tech & Sourcing

The Stanford Institute for Human Centered Artificial Intelligence recently published its AI Index Report 2022. In a world of near-constant advancement and innovation in technology, it’s no surprise the report found that more global artificial intelligence (AI) legislation was proposed in 2021 than ever before.

The fifth issue of the report aims to provide “unbiased, rigorously vetted, and globally sourced data for policymakers, researchers, executives, journalists, and the general public” to develop a better understanding of the complex field of AI. The report highlights five areas of global AI development, including (1) research and development; (2) technical performance; (3) technical AI ethics; (4) the economy and education; and (5) AI policy and governance.

While there are many notable takeaways from the report, the AI policy and governance section provides interesting insight.

Of the 25 countries surveyed in the report, the number of bills containing “artificial intelligence” that were passed into law grew from 1 in 2016 to 18 in 2021. The United States was among the top three countries (along with Spain and the United Kingdom) to enact AI-related legislation, with each passing three AI-related bills in 2021.

In addition to the global surge of AI legislation, the number of proposed bills containing AI provisions in the United States grew from 2 in 2012 to 131 in 2021. Although this is a dramatic increase, the number of bills actually passed by the federal legislature in the United States remains low, with only 2% of the proposed bills ultimately becoming law.

Conversely, state-based bills related to AI passed at much higher rates than at the US federal level, similar to the surge of state-based data protection and cannabis-related bills in recent years. In contrast to the federal AI bill pass rate of 2%, 20% of 131 state proposed bills relating to AI, machine learning, or algorithmic bias were passed into law in 2021. Massachusetts proposed the most AI-related bills in 2021 (20), with Illinois (15) and Alabama (12) not far behind.

Another metric the report highlights is the number of mentions of AI in legislative records globally. From 2016 to 2021, the United Kingdom had the most mentions of AI in legislative proceedings (939 mentions), followed by Spain (559), Japan (466), and the United States (422). However, Spain far surpassed other nations in 2021 alone, leading the number of mentions in legislative proceedings globally with 269. The United Kingdom (185) and the United States (132) had the second and third most mentions regarding AI in their 2021 legislative proceedings.

The report documents a clear rise in how often AI legislation is being discussed, proposed, and passed in legislatures worldwide. However, the report does not detail the direct impact of these bills on the current progression or impact of AI in various economic sectors worldwide. With developments in AI technology constantly outpacing the passage of legislation, we expect to see an even larger increase of AI-related legislation in next year’s report. At that point, we can assess the impact such bills have had on AI and extrapolate how newly proposed bills will also affect it.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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