In a breaking news announcement this morning, President Biden has unveiled a significant Executive Order (EO) designed to address the challenges posed by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

As per the White House’s official statement, this EO sets forth groundbreaking measures to enhance the safety and security of AI technology, safeguard the privacy of American citizens, foster fairness and civil rights, advocate for the interests of consumers and workers, encourage innovation and healthy competition, and bolster the United States’ global leadership in this pivotal field.

The Executive Order details a comprehensive framework that outlines the establishment of new standards and best practices intended to guarantee the safety and security of AI, which includes:

  • Requiring developers of AI systems to share safety test results with the government
  • Establishing standards, tools, and tests to ensure safety, security, and trustworthiness of AI systems
  • Making new standards for biological synthesis screening to prevent AI from being used to create dangerous biological materials
  • Creating guidance and best practices for detecting AI-generated content
  • Setting up a security program to develop tools that find and fix vulnerabilities using AI
  • Developing a National Security Memorandum to guide the direction of further actions on AI and security

Within the EO, President Biden has taken a proactive stance in safeguarding the privacy of American citizens, recognizing the heightened vulnerability of personal data extraction and exploitation in the age of AI. To address these concerns, he is urging Congress to enact data privacy legislation that addresses these pressing issues. Furthermore, he underscores the need for intensified research into privacy-preserving technologies.

To facilitate this research endeavor, President Biden has not only established but also allocated funding for a Research Coordination Network.

In alignment with this comprehensive approach, the EO outlines an intent to evaluate the data collection and utilization practices within government agencies. The goal is to strengthen privacy guidelines for these agencies, further enhancing data protection for citizens.

Moreover, the initiative places a strong emphasis on promoting equity and civil rights in the context of AI. The EO underscores the potential for irresponsible AI usage to exacerbate discrimination, bias, and other injustices within sectors such as justice, healthcare, and housing.

“America already leads in AI innovation—more AI startups raised first-time capital in the United States last year than in the next seven countries combined. The Executive Order ensures that we continue to lead the way in innovation and competition,” the Biden/Harris administration wrote in the EO.

This initiative will establish a multifaceted approach, including the development of a resource tool to grant AI researchers access to essential AI resources and data. This include technical support to small startups and entrepreneurs seeking to bring AI innovations to the commercial market. In addition, the initiative aims to streamline and modernize visa criteria, interviews, and reviews, with a specific focus on broadening opportunities for skilled immigrants engaged in the field of AI technology.

Several AI experts have weighed in on the new executive order.

“We firmly believe in the need to protect AI equivalent to the immense value it can deliver. In order to build and ship AI that is secure and trusted, organizations must rigorously test (“red team”) their AI and understand the total composition of elements used to create that AI, said Ian Swanson, CEO of Protect AI and former head of AI at Amazon.

Nadia Gonzalez, chief marketing officer at Scibids, a company that combines AI and advertising campaigns, believes that the Executive Order is encouraging. It signals that the White House is taking AI seriously and is “moving us away from the patchwork approach that has so far occurred at a state-by-state level,” she said. “AI has the potential to drastically improve how governments operate, protect privacy at large, and promote innovation, but care must be taken to ensure that the regulations go far enough.”

“This executive order from the Biden administration – while directed at federal organizations – follows similar plans by other countries and the EU and is an important step towards ensuring responsible AI use. It will force many organizations to reevaluate their own processes and how they ethically leverage the technology”, added Michael Berthold, CEO of data analysis company KNIME.

In a significant development, the administration is set to provide comprehensive guidance to government agencies on effectively collaborating with Artificial Intelligence (AI). This guidance will encompass facilitating the procurement of AI products and services, as well as expediting the recruitment of AI professionals within the government ranks.

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