CBC aims to protect Black Americans from divisive AI technology

It is Congress’ duty to “be out front on the trends that will have significant impacts on the lives and the livelihoods of the constituents we serve,” said CBC Chairman Steven Horsford.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus aim to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are at the forefront as artificial intelligence technology continues to advance.

On Wednesday, CBC Chairman Steven Horsford, D-Nev., held a virtual press conference with Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., to announce that the caucus is launching an artificial intelligence policy series in an effort to prevent Black Americans from experiencing injustice at the hands of AI systems that play a role in areas such as the health care system, job market, and banking industry.

artificial intelligence, thegrio.com
The robot Ameca from British manufacturer Engineered Arts interacts with visitors last July in Switzerland. In the U.S., the Congressional Black Caucus is keeping an eye on AI developments. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

In the coming weeks, the caucus plans to work with public policy leaders “to identify and address issues of bias and discrimination in AI systems” and propose laws that would protect Black Americans’ constitutional rights.

Horsford told reporters that due to “the rapid emergence of new AI technologies” it is Congress’ duty to “be out front on the trends that will have significant impacts on the lives and the livelihoods of the constituents we serve.”

Clarke told reporters that “True innovation cannot exist if it excludes already marginalized communities.”

She added, “We want to use this moment to disrupt any notion that the Black community should accept an imperfect, biased, and discriminatory platform that is governing our lives.”

During the press conference, CBC members stated that they will propose legislation that would protect Black voters from misinformation perpetuated by artificial intelligence ahead of the 2024 general elections.

Horsford told theGrio that he and other CBC members heard from experts who found that during the “last election, more than 40% of AI ads were aimed at Black voters.”

Rep. Steven Horsford, theGrio.com
Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, held a virtual press conference on Wednesday to announce the caucus’ efforts to monitor AI for bias. (Photo by Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images)

“That alone should warrant more rigorous accountability by these platforms and action here in Congress,” he said.

“It goes to the cornerstone of our democracy and protecting every person in our electorate, having access to true and accurate information,” he stated.

Clarke told theGrio that she is working on legislation that would help “educate the public about deceptive ads and how to find trusted sources in the midst of an election season.”

In May 2023, Clarke introduced the “REAL Political Advertisements Act,” which would require any communication that uses artificial intelligence, such as a political advertisement, to include a statement that says AI technology was used to make the ad, video or other form of media.

U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, theGrio.com
Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., who introduced an act requiring transparency in AI use, was part of Wednesday’s virtual press conference on artificial intelligence. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

“I think it’s critical because we’ve all used social media platforms that disperse misinformation,” she said. “Social media is where deception meets the eye and unfortunately legislation has not moved as of yet.”

In the meantime, Horsford told reporters that he trusts House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., to advocate on behalf of Black Americans and work with House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. to ensure that legislation proposed in the caucus’ artificial intelligence series is passed.

“We will continue to make sure our voices are heard here in the House and in the Senate…because it’s too important for us not to be at the table,” he said.

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