Legislation seeks to establish AI research partnerships between U.S. and foreign cities

shulz/getty images

The bill would limit collaborative experimentation to “non-national security areas” of AI.

New House legislation would create international artificial intelligence research partnerships between U.S. cities and their foreign counterparts to promote collaboration on the development of emerging capabilities.

The bill, introduced on Tuesday by Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., would direct the State Department to “encourage or support” the establishment of AI research partnerships — either directly or through public-private partnerships that include nonprofit organizations and academic institutions — between willing U.S. localities and foreign cities. 

“This legislation seeks to cultivate and expand the research and development of artificial intelligence to ensure new AI tools and real-world applications adhere to the shared values of the United States and its allies and in so doing contribute to security, uphold democratic principles, foster economic prosperity and sustain the dignity of every human life,” Torres said in a statement

According to the bill text, State would provide guidance to U.S. cities looking to enter into partnerships and also work with the National Science Foundation to align activities in ways that “leverage the National AI Resource Institute.” NSF launched the AI resource pilot program in January to help make federal AI-related resources accessible to researchers. 

The legislation would require the partnerships to focus “on economic cooperation and workforce development” and adhere to related export controls. Research would also be limited to “non-national security areas” of AI.

State would be allocated $20 million in each fiscal year between 2025 and 2028 to “enter into contracts with appropriate entities to facilitate the establishment and implementation” of the partnerships.

Cities located in “a foreign country of concern,” or those deemed to be engaged “in conduct that is detrimental to the national security or foreign policy of the United States,” would be excluded from participating in any partnerships. State would also be tasked with ensuring that experimental activities are consistent with U.S. “foreign policy and national security interests.”