Press Release

Landmark CA legislation would create ‘public cloud’ allowing equitable AI access and spurring innovation

02. 08. 2024

CA State Sen. Wiener introduces bill co-sponsored by Economic Security California Action to create CalCompute, a public cloud computing cluster.

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Sacramento, CA, —SB 1047, introduced today by State Sen. Scott Wiener and co-sponsored by Economic Security California Action (ESCAA), would create a public, state-of-the-art, high-powered computing infrastructure called CalCompute, providing broad access to artificial intelligence (AI) systems to boost innovation, research, development, and disaster response. This effort positions California at the forefront of addressing one of today’s most pressing issues across the globe: how to mitigate the harms of AI and harness the power of good to serve the public interest.  Along with enacting regulations requiring companies to test powerful AI models before releasing them, this bill aims to carve out a space for public good in the field of AI. 

“The AI market is dominated by a handful of corporate actors and this essential legislation takes the first critical step in fostering greater innovation and openness to serve the public interest,” said Teri Olle, Director of Economic Security California. “With the development of a public cloud like CalCompute, we can harness the potential of AI for good, accessing data to advance the next breakthroughs in healthcare, technology, and disaster response. When we prioritize the public good, we ensure that future innovations are equitable and accessible to all. This new framework will be groundbreaking for all Californians, and Economic Security California applauds Senator Wiener for spearheading this endeavor.”

With AI advancing rapidly and new models demonstrating remarkable abilities, the proposed legislation sets clear standards for developers of the biggest, untested, next-generation AI models. It would require developers of these models to take basic precautions such as pre-deployment safety testing and cybersecurity protections, and includes new state enforcement mechanisms. It would also require fair and transparent pricing. 

In addition to safety standards, the bill aims to democratize access to cutting-edge technology by creating a public cloud computing cluster, which expands access to technological innovation and development.

“SB 1047 will also promote the growth of the AI industry by establishing CalCompute, a public

AI research cluster that will allow startups, researchers, and community groups to participate in the development of large-scale AI systems,” said Sen. Scott Wiener. “By providing a broad range of stakeholders with access to the AI development process, CalCompute will help align large-scale AI systems with the values and needs of California communities.”

As the home of Silicon Valley and the center of gravity for the burgeoning AI industry, California can play an outsized role in creating guardrails around the technology and a market that is transparent, equitable, fosters innovation, and doesn’t stifle competition.

“The vast computing power and money required to develop AI means people who may have brilliant ideas that could lead to the next big breakthrough in science or medicine do not have access to the tools they need to pursue them. With a public cloud like CalCompute, we can open up the doors to harness the potential of AI for good,” Olle said. “AI technology developed with a goal to best serve the public—rather than to achieve market dominance—cannot rely on the traditional business practices that corporations have historically used to amass power and profit, and would function as a safeguard against such abuse.”

To request an interview with Teri Olle, Director of Economic Security California, a co-sponsor of the legislation, contact Jenna Severson at [email protected].


Economic Security California Action is an affiliate of Economic Security Project Action.

Economic Security Project Action mobilizes resources and people behind ideas that build economic power for all Americans. As an ideas advocacy organization, we legitimize our issues by supporting cutting edge research and elevating champions, win concrete policy victories for the communities that need to see change now, and provoke the conventional wisdom to shift what’s considered possible. Our team of academics, organizers, practitioners and culture makers disburse grants, run issue campaigns, develop creative interventions and research products to support the field, and coordinate events to encourage investment and action from others.