White House Issues Long-Awaited AI Executive Order
Following weeks of speculation and discussions in Washington D.C., the White House has officially introduced a comprehensive executive order addressing AI. President Joe Biden’s administration revealed the executive order focused on monitoring and regulating AI risks while harnessing its potential on Monday, October 30. The order has garnered early praise from some within the AI community, including the Center for Data Innovation, which stated, “Too often, proposals for AI exclusively focus on how AI might go wrong and leave out policies for how to ensure the technology goes right. The EO rightly includes steps to harness AI’s potential in education and healthcare, but achieving AI adoption at scale requires much more significant investment and detailed policy initiatives than the EO currently envisions.”
President Biden’s executive order establishes new standards for AI safety and security, mandating that developers of high-risk AI systems share safety test results with the government. Simultaneously, it directs actions to safeguard Americans’ privacy and civil rights from AI-related risks. Although the order does not explicitly define high-risk AI systems, it specifies that companies developing foundation models posing serious risks to national and economic security, public health, or safety must notify the government and share testing results.
The order introduces standards for rigorous testing of AI systems before public release, guarding against potential misuse for biological fraud or engineering while enhancing privacy protections. Additionally, it aims to prevent AI-based discrimination in justice, healthcare, and housing. The order addresses algorithmic discrimination, ensuring fairness in criminal justice AI, and advancing responsible AI in healthcare and education. Although not explicitly outlined, the order commits to developing principles and best practices to protect workers from AI-related harms, covering issues such as job displacement, labor standards, workplace equity and safety, and data collection. The objective is to provide guidance to prevent unfair treatment of workers by AI systems in hiring, compensation, and organizing.
The order promotes a fair AI ecosystem by supporting small developers and ensuring oversight by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It also addresses immigration concerns, seeking to modernize and streamline visas to retain AI talent. The executive order plans to accelerate research through new AI resources and data access, emphasizing collaboration by expanding international cooperation on AI safety and ethics. The administration aims to establish crucial standards with partner nations to promote rights-affirming AI worldwide. Collaboration with Congress is also highlighted for legislation on responsible leadership in AI, although it does not specify recent legislation introduced in Congress or mention collaboration at the state and city levels.
The administration is encouraging people to weigh-in on ai.gov. In essence, President Biden’s executive order outlines vital steps for the United States’ approach to safe, secure, and trustworthy AI.
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