Bipartisan Senate bill wants Commerce secretary to raise awareness of AI jobs 

The legislation from Sens. Todd Young and Brian Schatz aims to expand outreach for AI government jobs and promote opportunities with the technology.
Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, left, and Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., talk about proposed legislation during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on May 8, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A new bill from Sens. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, would have the Commerce secretary take on a slew of new responsibilities related to raising public awareness about artificial intelligence. 

As part of the legislation, Commerce would have a role in conducting outreach for AI jobs available in the government — addressing an ongoing struggle for the public sector as it competes with private industry and their much higher salaries. 

Specifically, the legislation — called the Artificial Intelligence Public Awareness and Education Campaign Act — would charge Commerce with promoting “opportunities to work in the Government, for technologists and others with experience in the development, deployment, and use of artificial intelligence, including to institutions of higher education.” 

The bill would also have the Commerce Department measure the efficacy of the campaign through “key performance indicators” and highlight the rights of individuals under law as they relate to AI.  


The legislation also includes components related to raising public understanding on AI-modified content and deepfakes — and focuses on communities, like seniors, that might be particularly vulnerable to AI-facilitated scams. 

“As AI tools and content become increasingly common, it’s essential that the public is aware of the risks and benefits associated with them,” Schatz said in a statement. “Our bill will direct the Commerce Department to educate the public about how best to take advantage of these tools while staying vigilant to AI-enabled scams and fraud.”

The introduction of the bill comes amid a flurry of AI-related legislative proposals, though Congress has yet to pass any major new laws related to the technology. 

Rebecca Heilweil

Written by Rebecca Heilweil

Rebecca Heilweil is an investigative reporter for FedScoop. She writes about the intersection of government, tech policy, and emerging technologies. Previously she was a reporter at Vox's tech site, Recode. She’s also written for Slate, Wired, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. You can reach her at Message her if you’d like to chat on Signal.

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