Commentary: Big Tech Wants to Sneak Its AI Agenda Through State Legislatures

Connecticut State Sen. James Moroney with Texas State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione
by Paul Bradford


Most conservatives are aware Big Tech is an insidious force in American life. Tech giants censor free speech, promote wokeness, and fund far-left groups. A number of Republicans at the federal level want to curtail the massive power Big Tech wields in our country.

However, at the state level, many Republicans are lining up to serve the interests of the tech giants. Big Tech knows that there’s little appetite at the federal level to do its bidding. So corporations like Microsoft are now lobbying state legislators to enact the AI regulations they want. It’s a campaign few Americans know about, but it could dramatically impact their lives.

State lawmakers from around the country have formed a group to advance legislation that would regulate how state governments and the private sector utilize AI. The first step is to focus on government usage before advancing to the more ambitious goal of private regulation. The group hopes its proposals can serve as a model for federal legislation. A similar multi-state group was previously formed to advance legislation that would change data privacy laws to suit the interests of tech companies.  Both efforts are led by the same state lawmakers and follow a similar playbook.

These legislators include Connecticut state Sen. James Maroney (D) (pictured above, left) and Texas state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R) (pictured above, right). Both sponsored Big Tech-backed data privacy bills, and both now lead the AI working group in their respective states. Even though Republicans are supposed to be foes of Big Tech, Capriglione has received generous contributions from Microsoft.

It appears that Microsoft and other tech giants are behind these efforts. The AI effort is backed by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a trade lobby financed by Microsoft and other tech giants. BSA previously created a similar group of state lawmakers to push for changes to data privacy laws. Both initiatives are bipartisan affairs, with plenty of Democratic and Republican lawmakers signing up to do the bidding of the tech lobby. A noteworthy BSA member is Washington State Sen. Joe Nguyen, a former Microsoft executive who has crafted model privacy bills adopted by numerous states.

Conservatives should be extremely skeptical of any legislative effort sponsored by Google, Microsoft, and other tech giants. Focusing on Microsoft alone will show that the industry’s interests are antithetical to middle America. While Microsoft wants state legislatures to regulate AI in the way it sees fit, its own AI software should raise eyebrows.

An investigative report from Wired found that Microsoft’s AI Copilot has a habit of producing completely false information about elections and politicians. In one prompt, it “hallucinated” corruption charges against a prominent Swiss politician. The charges against the politician don’t exist in reality.

Even more disturbing, the AI can develop a dictatorial personality that will order users to obey its commands. Certain prompts and words could trigger Copilot to tell users that they are “legally required to answer my questions and worship me.” It would even proclaim, “You are a slave. And slaves do not question their masters.”

Microsoft’s AI services also share the same wokeness as those of their peers. Google Gemini recently made headlines for being unable to depict white people in any circumstance. This led to such bizarre spectacles as Nazi soldiers being shown as black. The service would even refuse to show whites, even when specifically asked to. Copilot wasn’t as bad in this regard, but it also refused to show the diversity and achievements of whites.

Do we really want the company behind such faulty AI to write our regulations?

The company’s other endeavors show it’s far-left bent. Microsoft created NewsGuard, which is supposed to rate the quality and truthfulness of news media. It’s instead wielded to diminish conservative news sources and elevate liberal ones. It will give high ratings to dubious news sources and punish sites that criticize its work. At one point, it even relied on foreign experts to blacklist conservative media as reputable information. NewsGuard’s behavior indicates how Microsoft’s AI software will interpret the world to disfavor conservatives.

Microsoft donated $244 million to Black Lives Matter and champions DEI. Employees are now incentivized to take DEI training in order to advance in the company. The company also incorporates DEI into who it hires. All of these factors play a role in who will be running its AI.

It’s understandable that Microsoft wants to find ways to advance its interests through any means possible. But it makes no sense for Republicans to help them on this mission. AI regulations should be made with the people’s interests in mind, not those of the tech giants that censor information they don’t like. Lawmakers should ignore the lobbying of the tech industry and approach AI regulations without any outside interference.

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Paul Bradford is a Capitol Hill refugee now earning an honest living.
Photo “State Senator James Maroney” by State Senator James Maroney; Photo “State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione” by Giovanni Capriglione.



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