May 25, 2023

Rick Scott leads push to help parents keep kids safe from unrestricted AI

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is hoping to give parents more control over their kids’ access to AI chatbots as Congress starts to wrestle with how to put guardrails around rapidly advancing artificial intelligence systems.

Scott introduced the Artificial Intelligence Shield for Kids (ASK) Act, and told Fox News Digital in an interview that he’s already winning support for the bill from Senate colleagues as well as American parents.

‘They like it. I mean, they’re worried about their kids’ access to social media sites,’ Scott said of parental feedback he’s received. ‘And I think that they’re going to do everything they can, the parents I talked to, but there’s also things that the government can do to make sure that their children are not subjected to things.’

‘Part of government’s responsibility is to keep people safe. And I think this is the basic premise of what government ought to be doing, is keeping kids safe,’ he said.

Snapchat, the popular photo and messaging app geared toward teens and young adults, recently introduced a chatbot feature called ‘My AI,’ powered by OpenAI’s technology. The feature can only be removed by paid Snapchat Plus subscribers. It’s already raised alarm bells among parents who are worried about what kind of exchanges their kids could have and whether interacting with a machine on that level would impede their social development.

Scott said the situation was ‘not fair’ and told Fox News Digital that he was partially inspired to introduce the bill by his own experience raising children.

‘I think about how my wife and I raised our daughters, you know, we signed off if they were gonna go to a school trip. If they were going to stay all night, we made sure we knew the family. We tried to make sure they’re around people that put them in a situation that kept them safe. And I think every parent probably thinks that way,’ the senator said.

‘So I think we’ve got to do the same thing with regard to technology,’ he said. ‘I don’t think that our children ought to be subjected to AI technology without parental consent.’

‘I think we need to have parents involved if their child’s going to see anything with AI technology. And then, don’t make people pay to get rid of it,’ Scott said.

Asked about what kind of feedback he’s gotten on the bill from fellow lawmakers, Scott said, ‘I think people were interested… I’ve been talking to a variety of senators about it, and some of my friends in the House.’

He added that he expects the legislation to move forward in committee, which would set it up for an eventual Senate floor vote.


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