San Francisco Advantage

State Senator Comes to Campus to Discuss His AI Bill with Students

by Sydney Tweedley ’26, USF News

California State Senator Scott Wiener came to the Hilltop to hear students’ thoughts on his new artificial intelligence bill. He got an earful.

Robert Boller, professor of rhetoric and director of the debate program at USF, invited Wiener, the District 11 representative from San Francisco, to campus April 5 to discuss the bill with students from the debate team. According to Wiener, the measure “seeks to ensure the safe development of large-scale artificial intelligence systems by establishing clear, predictable, common-sense safety standards for developers of the largest and most powerful AI systems.”

After an introduction from Boller, five students spoke in turn. Elise Green ’27 said that while SB 1047 is not the first bill of its kind, it may stand out for its “preemptive stance.” Among 30 U.S. states that have recently passed AI laws, she said, many regulate existing systems but do not set standards for new developments of AI technology.

Kendrick Lacerda ’25 mentioned several threats AI poses to humanity, including its use to create “deep fakes” for political scheming and commercial scamming, or how “terrorist groups or malicious state actors” might abuse the technology. It is for these reasons, he said, that passage of a bill like Wiener’s is “so important.”

Chisom Okorafor ’27 said SB 1047 applies only to large AI software projects that use massive amounts of computing power, and that smaller AI projects that present threats might fly beneath the regulatory radar.

Camila Hurtado ’27 proposed three amendments to SB 1047:

First, reduce the computing-power threshold so that the bill will address problems that smaller-scale AI is creating right now, instead of addressing future threats presented only by AI’s largest models.

Second, require AI companies to remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than they emit.

Third, make SB 1047 a global standard by matching the penalties for noncompliance created by the European Union’s AI Act.

“We support your bill, although we’ve also criticized it,” said closing speaker Mariah Moore ’27.

Senator Wiener thanked the five students for their “totally impressive” comments. The USF debaters give him “confidence for the future,” he said.