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Select Committee on AI advances first bill, hears about developments in tech

The House of Delegates has established a Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence and it advanced its first bill.

House Bill 5161 doesn’t exactly deal with artificial intelligence but it does seek to take advantage of technological advances. The bill would create a “digital wallet” for residents whose jobs require various licenses, to keep all of the owner’s certifications or licensure in one place.

The process would flow through the Secretary of State’s Office’s one-stop business portal. The individual would have responsibility for organizing their credentials and ensuring their accuracy.

Delegate Jared Cannon, chair of the House AI committee, described it as “a place where they can keep everything so when they’re applying for jobs they’re able to quickly access that and provide it to employers — so you don’t have one document on your phone, one document on your laptop at home, one on a printed file cabinet.

“They can just keep it all right there as a centralized data storage area,” Cannon said.

The bill has a second reference to the House Technology and Infrastructure Committee, so it still has several steps before potential passage.

Upcoming bills to be considered by the committee may deal with issues like “deep fakes” or revenge pornography.

“We initially had planned for this to be a year to take in testimony and kind of walk through all the policy more next year after we get a good grasp,” said Cannon, R-Putnam. “But this is something simple we can do to help people this year. I think we can also see a couple of other bills come through.”

This is the first year for the Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence. House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, dropped by to watch several minutes of the Wednesday morning meeting, just because he was interested.

Amy Beth Cyphert, who developed and teaches a course on artificial intelligence and the law at West Virginia University, spoke to the committee about developments, opportunities and areas of concern as AI evolves. Her presentation ranged from the raw material that AI takes in, to questions about copyright law, to developments with “deep fakes.”

Much of the national dialogue about artificial intelligence has been fueled by the advent of ChatGPT.

Cyphert praised the committee for taking an active approach to thinking about how state law might have to contend with artificial intelligence — along with the courts system and the federal government.

Cannon said those are the reasons the committee was established. Although the committee might consider additional legislation, its main initial role will be to focus on the learning curve for citizen

“It’s years of work mostly driven by the speaker. He has taken a great interest in this, and I have too over the last year or so. But frankly, I talk to people every single day in the Legislature who have some kind of interest. I think we all do as a society. ChatGPT certainly blew up the interest in mass,” Cannon said.

“Other states have started to look at these issues too, and I think we wanted to be a leader on it.”

Cannon described the possible creation of a state task force on AI.

“A big part of why we created the committee is to try to see what state government is already doing with AI that we may not know about to try to get an inventory.”