Indiana lawmakers considering future AI rules and regulations citing privacy concerns

INDIANAPOLIS — As artificial intelligence rapidly continues to evolve, Indiana lawmakers are debating if and how they should regulate it. 

The Interim Study Committee for Commerce and Economic Development heard hours of testimony Wednesday about how AI is changing Indiana’s economic outlook, with several policy experts pushing for a “middle of the road” approach when it comes to regulating its use. 

“I can tell you that AI for ‘blank’ is just about every new start-up that’s happening right now,” John McDonald, a managing entrepreneur with NEXT Studios who gave testimony Wednesday, said.  

McDonald said his company has helped hundreds of Hoosiers start-ups hit the ground running over the past three years by teaching business owners how to use and leverage AI to their advantage.  

”We want to make sure that this great new business activity, is not only being not being stopped but also being really fostered here in Indiana so we can be a leader in this space,” McDonald said. 

”Companies that learn how to use AI especially within the institution of their organization and their business will fly farther than low-resource organizations,” Joshua Fisher, assistant professor of Emerging Media Design and Development at Ball State University, said.  

State Sen. Scott Baldwin, who chairs the Commerce/ED interim committee, said his biggest concern when it comes to AI is privacy.  

”Sometimes, people start to think of AI as only being ChatGPT 3 or ChatGPT 4, but it’s not, it’s everywhere,” Sen. Baldwin said. 

According to Sen. Baldwin, although lawmakers aren’t currently looking into any bills specifically geared towards AI, the General Assembly could face a balancing act next session between recognizing the free market and protecting Hoosiers’ data.  

”What we can do to protect Hoosiers and make sure we’re allowing technology to advance but we’re making sure our privacies aren’t violated…no doubt it’s going to be a tightrope for us to walk,” Sen. Baldwin said. 

McDonald said he hopes the General Assembly will consider creating incentives for companies that are responsible and transparent with data moving forward.  

”That introduces market economics into the data protection, which really is not achievable legislatively by sort of banning something or regulating something,” McDonald said. 

”It’s certainly something we can consider,” Sen. Baldwin said. “You know, there’s both the stick and the carrot, right? Sometimes, the carrot works a bit better.”

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