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Colorado becomes the first state with far-reaching rules for artificial intelligence. • Colorado Newsline

Colorado has become the first state in the nation to create a regulatory framework for artificial intelligence after Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 24-205 into law Friday evening.

The bill sets up guardrails for companies that develop and use AI in an effort to limit harm and discrimination against consumers.

Polis, a Democrat, wrote in a signing statement that he signed the bill with reservations and hopes the conversation about AI regulation will continue at both the state and federal levels.

“While the guardrails, long timeline for implementation, and limitations in the final version are enough for me to sign this legislation today, I am concerned about the impact this law could have on an industry that drives critical technological advances in our state incentives for consumers. and businesses,” he wrote.

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The law will not come into effect until 2026.

It was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Robert Rodriguez of Denver, Rep. Brianna Titone of Arvada and Rep. Manny Rutinel of Commerce City, all Democrats, and was passed in the final days of the most recent legislative session, which concluded May 8.

The law imposes requirements on developers and implementers of so-called high-risk AI systems, such as those involved in making resulting decisions regarding hiring, banking and housing. Developers and implementers have a responsibility to prevent algorithmic discrimination and report any instances to the Attorney General’s office. There are also reporting requirements from developers to consumers.

“Laws that seek to prevent discrimination generally aim to prohibit intentional discriminatory behavior. Notably, this bill departs from that practice by regulating the outcomes of the use of AI systems regardless of their intent, and I encourage the Legislature to reexamine this concept as the bill is finalized before it comes into effect in 2026 becomes,” Polis wrote.

Polis wrote that AI regulation should be considered at the federal level, rather than a patchwork of policies at the state level. A similar bill in Connecticut, drafted with input from workforce software Workday, failed in that state’s legislative session this year.

Congress has yet to pass bills regulating AI, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, released a roadmap for potential policies earlier this month, emerging from the work of the bipartisan AI working group of the Senate.

Colorado’s legislation was opposed by the technology industry and companies that use AI. They were particularly concerned that this would hinder innovation in an emerging field.

“It is a very far-reaching bill. It’s really challenging to wrap our heads around all the things we unintentionally do that we might not think about,” said Logan Cerkovnik, the founder and CEO of Denver-based Thumper.ai. “It is certainly a well-intentioned bill, but when we think about how the major social changes we are pursuing with the bill should work.”

“Are we shifting from actual discrimination to the risk of discrimination before it happens?” he added.

His company plans to soon offer several tools, such as large language models, and he wonders whether these should limit consumer use to automatically prevent banks from uploading loan applications or employers from uploading resumes – two cases where AI biases and can show discrimination.

“Maybe they’ll get in trouble later and try to say our company is liable because we gave them a general purpose tool and they misused it,” he said.

Cerkovnik said there is room for industry input to improve the legislation before it comes into effect. That could include tightening overly broad definitions and creating an expert committee responsible for enforcing the regulations instead of the attorney general’s office.

Polis wrote in his signing statement that stakeholders, including industry leaders, should take the next two years to “refine the provisions and ensure that the end product includes the development and expansion of new technologies in Colorado that could impact the lives of individuals does not hinder improvement. across our state.”

“It is critical that such discussions among stakeholders are based on a robust understanding of how the AI ​​industry is developing, the impact of creating a separate anti-discrimination framework for AI systems only, and what our country as a whole is doing to to adapt to this change in our society.”