November 28, 2023
President Biden's Bold Step: Inside the White House's New Executive Order Transforming AI
In a groundbreaking move at the White House, US President Joe Biden took a decisive step toward securing the future by signing a cutting-edge executive order. This order isn’t just another bureaucratic formality—it’s a bold initiative aimed at reducing the potential threats that AI poses to both Americans and our national security.
Under this game-changing directive, AI developers are now required to open the curtain on their safety tests, sharing crucial results with the US government before their innovations hit the public stage.
What sets this executive order apart is its proactive stance, surpassing mere promises made earlier this year by industry giants like OpenAI, Google’s parent company Alphabet, and Meta Platforms. While these tech powerhouses pledged to label AI-generated content, President Biden’s order delves deeper into the landscape of accountability and foresight.
Let’s take a closer look at the key focus points of President Biden’s executive order.
Part 1: Unveiling New Standards to Safeguard Against AI Risks
Notification and Transparency
The order mandates that companies developing foundational AI models with serious implications for national security, economic well-being, or public health will be required to:
- Inform the federal government during the AI model’s training phase and
- Share the outcomes of rigorous red-team safety tests.
This is a bold step meant to ensure that AI models are not just cutting-edge but also safe, secure, and trustworthy before they reach the public eye.
Elevating Standards Across the Board
- The National Institute of Standards and Technology will take the helm in setting robust standards for red-team testing, in order to guarantee safety before public release.
- The Department of Homeland Security will apply these standards to critical infrastructure sectors and is tasked to establish the AI Safety and Security Board.
- The Departments of Energy and Homeland Security will jointly address threats posed by AI models to critical infrastructure and delve into the domains of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity risks.
Life-Science Project Accountability
Agencies funding life-science projects will have to establish stringent standards for biological synthesis screening, so that AI cannot be used to engineer dangerous biological materials. Compliance with these standards will become a prerequisite for federal funding, providing powerful incentives to ensure responsible screening and AI risk management.
Content Authentication and Cybersecurity Fortification
- The Department of Commerce will step up by developing guidance for content authentication and watermarking, ensuring clear labeling of AI-generated content.
- An advanced cybersecurity program will be established to develop AI tools adept at identifying and rectifying vulnerabilities in critical software. This initiative will build upon the ongoing AI Cyber Challenge by the Biden-Harris Administration.
National Security Assurance
The National Security Council and White House Chief of Staff will collaborate to craft a National Security Memorandum. This directive will ensure the ethical, safe, and effective use of AI models in military and intelligence operations while countering adversaries' military AI applications.
Acknowledging AI’s capacity to extract, identify, and exploit personal data, the order will call on Congress to pass bipartisan data privacy legislation, delivering comprehensive protection to all Americans.
Equity and Civil Rights Advancements
- Landlords, federal benefits programs, and contractors will receive guidance to prevent AI models from exacerbating bias.
- The Department of Justice will take a proactive stance, coordinating efforts and providing training to investigate civil rights violations linked to AI.
- Best practices for AI use in various facets of the criminal justice system, from sentencing to forensic analysis, will be promoted to uphold fairness and combat algorithmic discrimination.
Part 2: Leveraging the Benefits of AI - Safely
While AI holds the power to enhance products, reduce costs, and increase accessibility, it also poses the risk of causing harm, misinformation, or deception. President Biden laid down a blueprint for actions that not only protect consumers but also ensure that AI becomes a force for positive change:
Elevating Healthcare with Responsible AI Use
The directive calls for advancing the responsible use of AI models in healthcare and the development of affordable life-saving drugs. The Department of Health and Human Services will establish a safety program, acting promptly to address reported harms or unsafe healthcare practices involving AI models.
Transforming Education with AI
The focus extends to shaping AI’s potential to revolutionize education. Resources will be created to support educators deploying AI-enabled tools, fostering personalized tutoring and innovation in schools.
Part 3: Empowering the Workforce in the Age of AI
As AI continues to reshape jobs and workplaces across the U.S., the President takes decisive actions to address concerns surrounding surveillance, bias, and job displacement. The measures undertaken are designed to strike a balance between reaping the benefits and mitigating risks for workers:
Establishing Principles for Worker Well-being
A set of principles and AI best practices will be established, covering job displacement, labor standards, workplace equity, health, safety, and data collection. The aim is to prevent undercompensation, unfair job evaluations, and interference with workers' organizing rights.
Navigating Labor Market Disruptions
A comprehensive report on AI’s impact on the labor market will be produced, exploring options to enhance federal support for workers facing disruptions, including those caused by AI.
Part 4: Fostering Innovation and Competition
The Executive Order also charts a course to ensure the continued leadership in AI innovation, fostering an environment that promotes knowledge sharing and fair competition.
Catalyzing AI Research
A pilot of the National AI Research Resource will be launched, providing widespread access to crucial AI resources and data across the United States.
Expanding Research Grants
Grants for AI research in critical areas such as healthcare and climate change will be expanded, driving advancements in vital sectors.
Nurturing a Competitive Ecosystem
Small developers and entrepreneurs will receive assistance, enabling them to commercialize AI breakthroughs. The Federal Trade Commission will be empowered to ensure a fair, open, and competitive AI ecosystem.
Attracting Top Talent
Visa processes will be streamlined to attract highly skilled immigrants and nonimmigrants with expertise in critical areas, fostering a diverse pool of talent to study, stay, and work in the United States.
Part 5: Pioneering Innovation
On the global stage, the Biden-Harris Administration is poised to take actions that support safe, secure, and trustworthy AI deployment.
Global AI Collaborations
Collaborations on AI with other nations will be expanded, fostering a collective effort toward responsible AI development and deployment.
Accelerating AI Standards
The development and implementation of AI standards will be accelerated, ensuring a consistent and robust framework for AI technologies.
Promoting Responsible AI Abroad
The administration will actively promote Responsible AI development on the international stage.
Part 6: The Government’s Commitment to Responsible AI Implementation
As AI emerges as a powerful tool for government functions, the President outlines strategic actions to ensure the deployment of responsible and ethical AI.
Guiding Agencies in AI Use
Clear guidance for agencies' use of AI will be issued, establishing standards to protect rights and safety, streamline AI procurement, and fortify AI deployment.
Efficient AI Procurement
Agencies will receive support to acquire specified AI products and services more rapidly, cost-effectively, and efficiently through streamlined contracting.
AI Talent Surge
A government-wide AI talent surge will be initiated, led by the Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Digital Service, U.S. Digital Corps, and Presidential Innovation Fellowship. Agencies will prioritize AI training for employees across all levels in relevant fields, ensuring a future-ready workforce. The goal is not just to keep pace with AI advancements but to lead the charge in leveraging its potential for the benefit of all Americans.
In wrapping up our dive into the President’s Executive Order on AI, it’s crucial to acknowledge that while some focus points may appear as placeholders or preliminary markers, we believe they intend to serve as strategic flags planted on issues demanding swift attention.
The White House might want to leverage its influence and set the stage for decisive actions on critical matters that might have otherwise lingered in the shadows.
In crafting this order, the President isn’t merely checking boxes; it’s a deliberate move to guide and propel the nation into a future where AI isn’t just a technological marvel but a force for positive change.
The journey towards Responsible AI has started, and we’re happy to be a part of those paving the way. If you’d like to learn more about our Responsible AI Governance platform, we’d be happy to show you how it works in a product demo.