Sen. Dodd Introduces California AI Accountability Act

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

SACRAMENTO – In response to the unprecedented growth of artificial intelligence technology, Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced the California AI Accountability Act today to ensure state agencies advance safeguards and consumer protections. The bill incorporates and builds upon recent AI directives from President Joe Biden and Gov. Gavin Newsom and seeks to encourage continued innovation while ensuring the rights and opportunities of all Californians are protected.

“By now we all recognize the tremendous capability of artificial intelligence to improve our lives and the functioning of government,” Sen. Dodd said. “But we also see its potential downsides -- specifically, the threat to consumer privacy, transparency and fairness. My proposal will help identify the risks of these emerging systems and develop appropriate guidelines to protect our state and the public.”

The 2023 White House Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, in addition to recent executive guidance from Gov. Newsom, establish a framework for addressing concerns including AI-driven algorithms that discriminate against people based on income levels or race, and the effects of automated machines on our workforce. Additionally, the president and governor have underscored threats posed by AI to data and consumer privacy, and the potential for misusing the technology to deceive and defraud.

Sen. Dodd’s proposed California AI Accountability Act, or Senate Bill 896, will guide the decision-making of state agencies, departments and subdivisions in the review, adoption, management, governance and regulations of automated decision-making technologies. One provision in the bill would require state agencies to notify users when they are interacting with AI. Further, it states the intent of the Legislature that the private sector adhere to these rights and safeguards, in addition to any specific statutory or regulatory requirements, and evolving best practices. And the act encourages the state to invest in AI education and build AI competency in the state’s workforce.

The bill is a follow-up to Sen. Dodd’s Senate Concurrent Resolution 17, adopted last year, which sets forth many of the ideas and was the first AI-drafted state resolution in history.