Utah’s Artificial Intelligence Policy Act

By Maren Hendricks March 28, 2024

Artificial Intelligence is increasingly integral to consumer transactions and Utah lawmakers have quickly mobilized to protect the public, recently passing the Artificial Intelligence Policy Act (SB 149). BYU Law welcomed key contributors to this effort, who shared their perspective on regulating this new technology: Jacob Hart and Greg Whisenant, deputy director and policy advisor, respectively, at the Utah Department of Commerce, and Nick Hafen, BYU Law’s head of legal technology education.

Jacob Hart (left) and Greg Whisenant (right) present to BYU Law students on March 12, 2024.

SB 149 seeks to align businesses’ burgeoning AI deployment with Utah’s consumer protection laws. Concerns about fraud, privacy, and inaccuracy have skyrocketed with increased use of AI in the consumer sector. For example, is personal protected information (PPI) an appropriate input for the AI universe given that extracting it is impossible? How can the law protect the public from realistic fakes? Is AI being trained with fair and objective data, or do the inputs create biased results? These are thorny questions. What would be settled when Governor Cox signs SB 149 into law is (1) greater clarity about AI involvement in transactions, and (2) liability for AI-generated errors in the consumer marketplace. A business employing consumer-facing AI such as a chatbot will reap the benefits of that efficiency and bear the burden of any errors. Further, certain AI tools (chatbots, voice, text messages) must disclose their non-human identity upon request, and for sensitive interactions disclosure is mandatory.

Seeking to strike a pragmatic balance in regulating AI, SB 149 calls for an “AI Learning Laboratory” to foster adoption of the technology while protecting the public. The Lab will include AI companies and policymakers with the goal of joint learning and testing to inform regulatory decision-making. Specific focus areas include consumer protection, data privacy, healthcare, and education. Lab proponents acknowledge that AI is a quickly evolving industry and that anticipating its many future implications is impossible. Observing AI’s evolution in a structured way will continue to strengthen Utah’s policy approach in the coming years.