AI ethics leader at Salesforce ‘optimistic’ on path to US regulation

There are several different pieces of legislation moving through the US Congress that focus on AI-related areas. But there is still no formal regulation that specifically focuses on AI.

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BARCELONA – Salesforce’s top executive says he is “optimistic” that the US Congress will soon pass new laws to regulate artificial intelligence.

Speaking to CNBC at the Mobile World Congress tech show in Barcelona, ​​Spain, Paula Goldman, Salesforce’s chief ethical and humane use officer, said she sees momentum toward specific AI laws in the United States and that federal legislation is not far off.

She noted that the need to consider handrails has become a “bipartisan” issue for US lawmakers and highlighted efforts by individual states to create their own AI laws.

“It’s very important to ensure that US lawmakers can agree on AI laws and work toward their early passage,” Goldman told CNBC. “It’s great, for example, to see the EU AI Act. It’s great to see everything happening in the UK”

“We were also actively involved in that. And you want to make sure … that those international frameworks are also relatively interoperable,” she added.

“In the context of the United States, what’s going to happen is if we don’t have federal legislation, you’re going to start seeing state-by-state legislation, and we’re definitely starting to see that. And that’s also very suboptimal,” Goldman said.

But she added, “I remain optimistic because I think if you’ve seen a number of hearings that have happened in the Senate, they’ve been largely bipartisan.”

“And I will also say that I think there are a number of sub-issues that I think are largely bipartisan that I’m certainly optimistic about that. And I think it’s very important to have a set of guardrails around the technology,” Goldman added.

Goldman sits on the US National AI Advisory Committee, which advises the Biden administration on AI-related topics. She is a top Salesforce leader who focuses on the responsible use of technology.

Her work includes developing product policies to inform the ethical use of technology – particularly AI-powered tools such as facial recognition – and debating with policymakers how technology should be regulated.

Salesforce has its own stake in generative AI, having launched its Einstein product — an integrated set of AI tools developed for Salesforce’s customer relationship management platform — in September.

Einstein is a conversational AI bot similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, but built for enterprise cases.

Legislation in progress

There are several different pieces of legislation moving through the US Congress that focus on AI-related areas. One is the REAL Political Ads Act, which would require a disclaimer for political ads that use AI-generated images or videos. It was introduced in May 2023.

Another is the National Artificial Intelligence Commission Act, introduced in June, which would create a bipartisan blue-ribbon commission to recommend steps toward regulating artificial intelligence.

Then there’s the AI ​​Labeling Act, which will require developers to include “clear and conspicuous” notices on AI-generated content. It was proposed in October 2023.

However, there is still no formal regulation that specifically focuses on AI. Calls for governments to enforce laws regulating AI have increased with the advent of advanced generative AI tools such as OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Google’s Gemini, which can create human responses to text prompts.

In October, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on AI in an effort to establish a “coordinated approach across the federal government” to the responsible development and implementation of the technology.

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