As policymakers weigh the implications of artificial intelligence (“AI”) and the Internet of Things (“IoT”), members of Congress have introduced a handful of measures focusing on Government support for and adoption of these emerging technologies.

In May, Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the Developing and Growing the Internet of Things (“DIGIT”) Act.  An earlier version of the legislation passed the Senate last year, but stalled in the House.

As reintroduced, the DIGIT Act would convene a working group of federal entities that would consult with private sector stakeholders to provide Congress with recommendations to encourage the growth of Internet of Things (“IoT”) technologies.  Specifically, and among other measures, the bill would require the working group to:

  • identify governmental activities that inhibit or could inhibit the growth of IoT
  • consider policies or programs that encourage and improve coordination among federal agencies relevant to IoT
  • examine how federal agencies can benefit from IoT, the IoT technologies currently used by agencies, and how prepared agencies are to adopt new IoT technologies
  • consider any additional security measures federal agencies may need to take to safely and securely use IoT and enhance the resiliency of federal systems against cyber threats to IoT

The working group would include governmental entities, who would be directed to consult with non-governmental stakeholders, including industry representatives from non-technology companies, in the transportation, energy, agriculture, or health care sectors.  The DIGIT Act would also create a steering group of private entities to advise the working group.  The working group would be required to submit a report to Congress within 18 months of the Act’s enactment.

The DIGIT Act would also require the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to study and provide a report to Congress on the spectrum needs to support an IoT ecosystem.

Two other new federal bills would also support new uses of AI technologies.  The AI in Government Act of 2019 (H.R. 2575), sponsored by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA-9), would create an AI Center of Excellence to advise and promote efforts to develop innovative uses of  AI by the federal Government. In the Senate, the Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act (S. 1558), sponsored by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), would establish a coordinated federal initiative to accelerate research and development of AI.