California senator proposes ethical guidelines for AI contractors in the state

California State Senator Steve Padilla has introduced two bills to create a “safe and ethical framework” for artificial intelligence (AI) service providers working with the state. Padilla introduced both bills on Jan. 3, though the full documents were not published.

Senate Bill 892 requires the Department of Technology to establish safety, privacy and nondiscrimination standards for AI services. These standards would become mandatory for every AI company contracting with the state’s institutions from Aug. 1, 2025.

Senate Bill 893 requires the Government Operations Agency, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and the Department of Technology to establish the AI Research Hub. In collaboration with local universities, “the hub should further the research, development, deployment, and application of AI technology for the public good,” the press release states.

Commenting on his initiative, Padilla reiterated California’s unique economic leverage over the technological companies used by the state to suggest firm regulations for a market:

“We are proud of California’s heritage as a center for technological vision and enforcing ethical, safe standards […] But we cannot allow a few monopolies to control the future of AI. This is a public good that must benefit all in our society, and we must make public investments to prevent a few billionaires controlling our future.”

Senate Bills 892 and 893 are not the first initiatives to regulate AI in California that have been revealed in recent months. In September 2023, Assemblymember Ash Kalra introduced a bill to protect actors, artists and entertainers from AI by mandating employment contracts to include informed consent regarding digital replicates.

Main, News