Early Monday morning, the White House announced President Biden’s wide-ranging executive order on artificial intelligence – the first of its kind. This comes after tech billionaires, such as Elon Musk, have called for a “regulatory structure” for AI due to risks to civilization.
A Milestone in AI Regulation
The order is broad and aims to establish new AI safety and security standards, protect Americans’ privacy, advance equity and civil rights, stand up for consumers and workers, promote innovation and competition, and position the US to lead the global AI race.
Comprehensive Approach to AI Policy
On Sunday, a White House official, who asked not to be named, told NBC News that AI has so many factors that effective regulations must be broad.
An Official Statement
“AI policy is like running into a decathlon, and there’s 10 different events here. And we don’t have the luxury of just picking ‘we’re just going to do safety’ or ‘we’re just going to do equity’ or ‘we’re just going to do privacy.’ You have to do all of these things,” the official said.
Leveraging the Defense Production Act
The order uses the Defense Production Act, mandating that tech firms must inform the government when developing any AI system that could pose risks to national security, economic security, or public health and safety.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed told NBC the order represents “the strongest set of actions any government in the world has ever taken on AI safety, security, and trust.”
Presidential Commitment to AI Regulation
Biden has been vocal about the need for AI regulation.
He has discussed the rapidly evolving technology without choking competition with tech leaders, civil society leaders, and labor unions. At the moment, OpenAI, Google, Microsoft, Meta, and Nvidia are some of the leaders in the space.
“I have a keen interest in AI and convened key experts on how to harness the power of artificial intelligence for good while protecting people from the profound risk it also presents,” Biden said in San Francisco last month.
Executive Order Highlights
Here are some highlights from “the most sweeping actions ever taken to protect Americans from the potential risks of AI systems.”
AI Safety and Security Measures
Developers of powerful AI systems must share safety test results with the US government.
AI systems posing risks to national security, economy, or public health must notify the government during development.
Standards Need to Be Set
The National Institute of Standards and Technology will set rigorous safety standards. The Department of Homeland Security to establish an AI Safety and Security Board. Address threats to critical infrastructure and cybersecurity risks.
Biological Risks and AI-Enabled Fraud Protection
Biden’s Administration plans to develop standards for biological synthesis screening to counter AI-engineered biological threats and to establish standards for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content.
Advanced Cybersecurity Program
They also plan to develop AI tools to identify and fix vulnerabilities in critical software.
National Security Memorandum on AI
They will direct further actions on AI and security for military and intelligence use.
They want to accelerate the development of privacy-preserving techniques. As well as strengthen research in privacy-preserving technologies and evaluate agencies’ use of commercially available information.
They plan to develop guidelines for evaluating privacy-preserving techniques in AI.
Equity and Civil Rights
They will seek guidance to prevent AI algorithms from exacerbating discrimination and address algorithmic discrimination in civil rights violations.
While also promising to develop best practices for AI use in the criminal justice system.
Consumer, Patient, and Student Protections
The Administration expressed the need for responsible use of AI in healthcare and education.
They propose a safety program for reporting harms in healthcare involving AI.
Support for Workers
The Administration also mentioned a plan to develop principles to mitigate AI harms and maximize benefits for workers and needs a way to report on AI’s potential labor-market impacts.
Promoting Innovation and Competition
They pledge to catalyze AI research and provide resources for small developers. They will also encourage FTC to exercise authority for a competitive AI ecosystem.
They want to streamline visa processes for skilled immigrants in critical areas.
American Leadership Abroad
They pledge to collaborate internationally on AI safety and standards and to promote responsible AI development globally.
Responsible Government Use of AI
They will claim responsibility for issuing guidance for agencies’ AI use, including standards to protect rights and safety. They will accelerate hiring AI professionals and provide AI training in relevant fields.
Spreading the Message
Biden’s social media team posted on October 30, 2023, about “Making AI Work for the American People.”
The President’s Official X Statement
“Artificial Intelligence is moving quickly. And so is my Administration. and see how we’re harnessing the power of AI and keeping all Americans safe in the process.” – President Biden (@POTUS)
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Musk recently told reporters: “When there is something that is a potential danger to the public, you want to have some oversight.”
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