GOP presidential hopeful Hurd campaigns on AI policy

Presidential hopeful Will Hurd campaigns in New Hampshire on Sept. 4, 2023.

Presidential hopeful Will Hurd campaigns in New Hampshire on Sept. 4, 2023. Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Former congressman Will Hurd is offering a novel AI policy as part of his larger campaign platform.

Republican presidential candidate Will Hurd unveiled an artificial intelligence policy as a new pillar in his campaign, making him the first 2024 Republican candidate to do so.

Hurd, a former CIA officer and U.S. Representative from Texas, wrote on his campaign website the need to spearhead America’s leadership in AI innovation in what he refers to as the ongoing “Cold War with China” over who can successfully leverage advanced AI systems first. 

“I prefer a future shaped by technologies like AI to be defined by American values,” Hurd wrote. “AI’s transformative potential can elevate the American way of life. However, its development and deployment must prioritize ethics, minimize biases, champion fairness, and safeguard privacy.”

Hurd’s plan for a sustainable AI landscape in America includes the establishment of a formal regulatory framework, preparing the U.S. workforce and fortifying national security operations with AI technology.

Within his proposed regulatory framework, Hurd recommends prioritizing ethics, mitigating risk of bias, and safeguarding user data privacy  —  characteristics of other proposed secure-by-design and human-centric AI guidance frameworks.

One key provision Hurd supports is AI permitting. Part of his AI policy recommends potent large language models receive a supervisory permit to operate in select fields.

“Just like a company needs a permit to build a nuclear power plant or a parking lot, powerful AI models should need to obtain a permit too,” his policy reads. “This will ensure that powerful AI systems are operating with safe, reliable standards.”

On the military front,Hurd suggests both strengthening collaborative partnerships with ally nations as well as controlling AI tech exports as two pieces of emerging tech foreign policy.

“We must invest in cutting-edge AI research and quickly deploy and integrate state-of-the-art AI tools within our defense and intelligence agencies to ensure we remain ahead of emerging threats,” he wrote.

Hurd chaired a subcommittee focused on information technology issues while serving in Congress from 2015-2019. He was co-sponsor of the Modernizing Government Technology Act, which established the Technology Modernization Fund.