In a defining moment for the realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI), President Biden has issued a landmark Executive Order aimed at ensuring the United States leads in harnessing the promise of AI while managing the associated risks. This Order is a comprehensive strategy setting new benchmarks in AI safety and security, privacy protection, civil rights advancement, and more. It calls on a multitude of federal departments and agencies to complete specific tasks to close the gap to responsible AI.
New Standards for AI Safety and Security:
The order directs federal agencies to develop and implement guidelines for the safe and secure development and use of AI systems.
Mandatory sharing of safety test results by developers of powerful AI systems.
Who needs to share? Developers of any foundation model posing national risks to security, economic security or public health and safety.
What must they do? Notify of model training and red-team safety test results.
Development of standards, tools, and tests to ensure AI system safety and security.
NIST will build the standards. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will apply them to critical infrastructure.
The Executive Order calls on DHS to establish the AI Safety and Security Board.
DHS and the Department of Energy will address threats to critical infrastructure posed by AI systems.
Protection against the risks of AI in engineering dangerous biological materials.
Agencies that fund life sciences projects “will establish these standards as a condition of federal funding”.
Establishment of standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content.
Guidance for authentication and watermarking to clearly label AI-generated content. (by Department of Commerce)
While the federal guidance is intended for Federal agencies, they are intended to set an example for the private sector.
Advanced cybersecurity program to develop AI tools to find and fix vulnerabilities in critical software.
Development of a National Security Memorandum to govern the United States military and intelligence community’s use of AI - and actions to counter adversary use. (by National Security Council and White House Chief of Staff).
Protecting Americans’ Privacy:
With AI, the ease of extracting and exploiting personal data has heightened. At the same time, the incentive to gather such data to train AI systems has also risen. Given these dynamics, the Executive Order lays out a number of steps to protect Americans’ privacy.
Passage of a bipartisan data privacy legislation by Congress.
Accelerating development and use of privacy-preserving techniques.
Strengthening privacy-preserving research and technologies.
Funds a Research Coordination Network to advance breakthroughs.
Calls on the National Science Foundation to promote the adoption of such technologies by federal agencies.
Evaluation of data collection practices and strengthening of privacy guidance for federal agencies.
Creation of guidelines to evaluate the effectiveness of privacy preserving techniques.
Advancing Equity and Civil Rights:
The irresponsible use of AI can deepen discrimination and bias. Building on the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, this Order provides clear directives to mitigate algorithmic discrimination and ensure fairness in various societal domains with a goal of advancing equity and civil rights.
Providing clear guidance to prevent AI-induced discrimination.
Addressing algorithmic discrimination through a coordinated approach to investigations and prosecution of civil rights violations related to AI.
Ensuring fairness in the criminal justice system through best practices on AI use.
Standing Up for Consumers, Patients, and Students:
To deliver on the promise AI presents for consumers while minimizing the risks of harm, the Order sets out two directives.
Advancing responsible AI use in healthcare and drug development.
Establishing a safety program to report and remedy harms in healthcare practices involving AI. (The Department of Health and Human Services)
Shaping AI’s potential in education by creating resources for educators.
AI is reshaping the job market and workplace dynamics. The Order develops principles to address job displacement, uphold labor standards, and invest in workforce training, ensuring a balanced transition in the face of AI-driven changes.
Developing principles to mitigate harms and maximize AI benefits for workers.
Producing a report on AI’s potential labor-market impacts.
Strengthening federal support for workers facing labor disruptions from AI.
Promoting Innovation and Competition:
The U.S. already leads in AI innovation and the White House intends for that to continue.
Catalyzing AI research through a pilot of the National AI Research Resource - a tool and grants to drive research in vital areas like healthcare and climate change.
Promoting a fair, open, and competitive AI ecosystem for small developers and entrepreneurs. (FTC)
Expanding the ability of highly skilled immigrants and non-immigrants to contribute to the U.S. AI domain.
Advancing American Leadership Abroad:
Since AI is a global topic, the Executive Order also directs action that goes beyond the nation’s borders.
Establishment of robust international AI frameworks through bilateral and multilateral partnerships (The State Department and the Commerce Department).
Acceleration of international standards to ensure safety and interoperability.
Promoting safe and rights-affirming AI use abroad to address global challenges.
Ensuring Responsible and Effective Government Use of AI:
The Executive Order also addresses some actions to how the government will operate internally. Essentially, crafting an AI policy.
Issuing guidelines for agencies on AI usage, focusing on rights protection and safety.
Streamlining the acquisition of AI products and services through rapid contracting.
Accelerating hiring of AI professionals and providing AI training for government employees.
The Executive Order by President Biden is a monumental stride towards a regulated and beneficial AI landscape. By setting rigorous standards and promoting responsible innovation, it ensures that the U.S. continues to lead in the global AI arena, fostering a safe and inclusive AI-driven future.