Biden Administration Issues Landmark AI Executive Order
United States president Joe Biden has issued an executive order to establish new rules and standards that artificial intelligence (AI) companies will have to follow to secure the leadership of America in the field. The executive order also ostensibly seeks to protect the privacy of citizens and examine the effects that AI tools will have on the national labor market.
Biden Administration Issues AI Executive Order
U.S. president Joe Biden has recently issued an executive order that tackles the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), seeking to establish standards that companies in the industry will have to follow to operate in the U.S. The order, one of the most comprehensive issued by any government, also seeks to avoid discrimination produced by AI algorithms and protect citizens’ privacy.
One of the features of the order is that it will require AI companies to “share their safety test results and other critical information with the U.S. government” when their activities pose “a serious risk to national security, national economic security, or national public health and safety.”
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will be in charge of creating the standards for these tests, which will be applied to critical infrastructure projects to ensure they can withstand AI-derived threats.
Another key issue the order touches on includes the development of methods that allow citizens to verify that communications are official and not AI-generated through “guidance for content authentication and watermarking to clearly label AI-generated content.”
With this document, the Biden administration recognizes the threat that AI-developed systems pose to the labor security of Americans. To mitigate this effect, the order states that it will “develop principles and best practices to mitigate the harms and maximize the benefits of AI for workers” while also calling for producing a report to examine the possible impact of AI on labor disruptions.
Citizen privacy is also addressed, with the order calling on Congress to “pass bipartisan data privacy legislation to protect all Americans, especially kids,” by researching privacy-preserving techniques and examining how companies collect and use information.
The scope of the executive order and its possible effects on the future of AI in the U.S. have spurred several reactions from various organizations. Regarding the standardization initiatives for AI-related testing, Maia Hamin, an associate director with the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative under the Digital Forensic Research Lab, stated:
This one-two punch could be a path to getting something like a regime for pre-release testing for highly capable models without needing to wait on congressional action. Hopefully, the NIST standards will encompass both the cybersecurity of the model … and its usefulness for malicious cyber activity.
SAG AFTRA, the U.S. actors guild syndicate, which is currently on a nationwide strike that also has an AI-related component, congratulated President Biden, stressing that “it is imperative that workers & unions remain at the forefront of policy development. We look forward to working together for a human-centered approach.”
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