On 30 October 2023, President Biden unveiled an Executive Order aimed at positioning the United States as a leader in the responsible development and application of artificial intelligence (AI). The directive sets forth a comprehensive approach that addresses AI safety and security, safeguards American privacy, promotes fairness and civil rights, advocates for consumers and workers, and encourages innovation and competition.

Key Directives for AI Safety and Security

The Executive Order mandates a series of robust measures to enhance the safety and security of AI technologies. Among these are:

  • Mandatory Sharing of Safety Test Results: Companies developing high-risk AI models must disclose safety test outcomes and other vital data to the U.S. government. This is in line with the Defense Production Act and aims to ensure that AI technologies are safe and reliable before public release.
  • Development of Safety Standards: The National Institute of Standards and Technology is tasked with creating rigorous safety standards, including red-team testing protocols. The Department of Homeland Security will apply these standards to critical infrastructure sectors and establish an AI Safety and Security Board.
  • Biosecurity Measures: The directive calls for the development of stringent standards for biological synthesis screening, to be established by agencies that fund life-science projects.
  • Combatting AI-Enabled Fraud: The Department of Commerce will create guidelines for content authentication and watermarking to help Americans distinguish between authentic and AI-generated content.
  • Cybersecurity Initiatives: An advanced cybersecurity program will be developed to leverage AI in identifying and rectifying vulnerabilities in critical software.
  • National Security Memorandum: The National Security Council and the White House Chief of Staff will develop a memorandum outlining further actions on AI and security, particularly for military and intelligence applications.

Safeguarding American Privacy

The Executive Order calls on Congress to enact bipartisan data privacy legislation and outlines actions to:

  • Promote the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques.
  • Fund a Research Coordination Network for privacy-preserving technologies.
  • Review and strengthen federal guidelines on data collection and usage, particularly concerning personally identifiable information.

Promoting Fairness and Civil Rights

The directive aims to combat algorithmic discrimination and ensure fairness in various sectors, including:

  • Providing guidance to landlords, federal benefits programs, and federal contractors to prevent AI-induced discrimination.
  • Training and technical assistance for investigating and prosecuting civil rights violations related to AI.
  • Developing best practices for the use of AI in the criminal justice system.

Consumer, Patient, and Student Protections

The Executive Order outlines measures to:

  • Promote the responsible use of AI in healthcare and establish a safety program for reporting AI-related harms.
  • Create resources to support educators in deploying AI-enabled educational tools.

Supporting Workers and Labor Markets

The directive focuses on:

  • Developing principles and best practices to mitigate the impact of AI on workers.
  • Producing a report on the potential labor-market impacts of AI.

Fostering Innovation and Competition

The Executive Order aims to:

  • Catalyze AI research through a National AI Research Resource and expanded grants.
  • Promote a competitive AI ecosystem by providing resources to small developers and entrepreneurs.
  • Modernize and streamline visa processes for highly skilled AI professionals.

Advancing Global Leadership

The directive outlines international collaboration efforts, including:

  • Expanding engagements to collaborate on AI with other nations.
  • Accelerating the development of international AI standards.
  • Promoting the responsible development and deployment of AI globally.

Government Use of AI

The Executive Order also focuses on responsible government deployment of AI, including:

  • Issuing guidelines for federal agencies’ use of AI.
  • Streamlining the procurement process for AI products and services.
  • Accelerating the hiring of AI professionals across federal agencies.

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