President Biden issued an extensive executive order on artificial intelligence (AI) on Monday, emphasizing the importance of harnessing AI’s potential while managing its potential risks.
This executive order covers a range of actions, addressing key areas like safety, privacy, worker protection, and innovation safeguarding.
A senior administration official stated, “President Biden believes that we have an obligation to harness the power of AI for good, while protecting people from its potentially profound risks.”
One of the notable aspects of the executive order is the introduction of new safety standards. Companies developing AI models with significant implications for national security, economic stability, or public health will be required to notify the federal government during the model training process. Furthermore, they must share the results of all safety tests conducted. The Commerce Department will also provide guidelines for content authentication and watermarking to label AI-generated content.
The order instructs federal agencies to expedite the development of techniques that enable AI systems to be trained while preserving the privacy of the training data. Additionally, agencies will evaluate their collection and use of commercially available data containing personal information.
For the benefit of workers, the executive order establishes principles and best practices to mitigate potential negative impacts and maximize the benefits created by AI. This includes addressing issues such as job displacement, labor standards, and data collection.
In the realm of innovation and competition, the order introduces a pilot initiative known as the National AI Research Resource, which will expand grants for AI research in areas like healthcare and climate change. It will also streamline visa criteria and interviews to enhance the ability of highly skilled immigrants and nonimmigrants with expertise in critical fields to study, stay, and work in the U.S.
Notably, this executive order applies to companies possessing powerful AI systems, irrespective of their engagement with the federal government. It represents a significant effort to establish national order in the AI industry, especially after the launch of ChatGPT, which showcased human-like capabilities and extensive knowledge in less than a year.
The primary aim of this executive order is to position the U.S. at the forefront of AI development and promote American leadership globally in this emerging technology. Vice President Harris is scheduled to deliver a speech in the United Kingdom, outlining the U.S. vision for AI.
Officials assert that the U.S. is not lagging behind Europe in AI regulation. An official stated, “I don’t think we’re in a race, I don’t think we’re playing catch up. I would push back on any notion that we are behind anyone. But… at the end, I think this is an opportunity to work together on AI governance. I don’t particularly see an amount of tension between the United States and Europe on this.”
The executive order is deeply rooted in advancing equity and civil rights by offering guidance to landlords, federal benefit programs, and federal contractors to prevent AI algorithms from exacerbating discrimination. It also seeks to develop a set of best practices for AI implementation in the criminal justice system, spanning areas like sentencing, parole, probation, surveillance, crime forecasting, and forensic analysis.
Furthermore, the order directs the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a safety program to receive reports regarding unsafe healthcare practices involving AI. Resources will be created to support educators in deploying AI tools for educational purposes.
Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed emphasized, “President Biden is rolling out the strongest set of actions any government in the world has ever taken on AI safety, security, and trust. It’s the next step in an aggressive strategy to do everything on all fronts to harness the benefits of AI and mitigate the risks.”
To ensure the effective implementation of this order, the White House will establish an AI council for principal level meetings, led by Bruce Reed. The timeline for implementing the executive order varies, with some safety actions set to take effect within 90 days, and others within 270 days or a year.
Additionally, the White House is launching AI.gov, a dedicated website for individuals interested in working on AI-related issues within the federal government. The aim is to attract AI experts to the federal workforce, recognizing that “you can never have too much AI talent.”
Key Components of Biden’s AI Executive Order
|Area of Focus||Key Initiatives|
|Safety||– New standards for AI safety<br>- Mandatory reporting for high-risk AI models<br>- Content authentication and watermarking guidelines|
|Privacy||– Preservation of privacy in AI training data<br>- Evaluation of personal data use by federal agencies|
|Worker Protection||– Principles and best practices to mitigate negative AI impacts on workers|
|Innovation and Competition||– National AI Research Resource pilot program<br>- Streamlined visa criteria for skilled immigrants|
|Equity and Civil Rights||– Guidance to prevent AI discrimination<br>- Best practices for AI use in criminal justice|
|Healthcare Safety||– Program for reporting unsafe healthcare AI practices|
|Education Support||– Resources for educators deploying AI tools|
|Implementation and Oversight||– Establishment of an AI council for order execution|
|Job Recruitment||– AI.gov: A website for job applicants interested in AI roles|
Timeline for Implementation
|Key Initiatives||Implementation Timeline|
|Safety Actions||Within 90 days|
|Other Deliverables||Within 270 days or a year|