Biden unveils first-ever executive order on artificial intelligence

October 30, 2023

President Biden on Monday unveiled the first-ever executive order on artificial intelligence (AI), requiring new safety assessments, equity and civil rights guidance on the emerging technology.

The White House has asserted that the sweeping new executive order will have a more immediate impact as Congress members have been endeavoring to learn more about AI, including meeting with top tech executives, and as the law enforcement community has said it’s ready to apply existing law to abuses of AI. 

According to White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed, the new executive order includes “the strongest set of actions any government in the world has ever taken on AI safety, security, and trust.”

Coming under the the Defense Production Act, the new guidance and regulations will include creating new safety and security standards, protecting consumer privacy, advancing equity and civil rights by helping landlords and employers avoid suspect AI algorithms, protecting consumers including in the healthcare industry.

The executive order also aims to promote innovation and competition by expanding grants for AI research in areas like climate change.

The White House further vows to work with international partners to implement worldwide AI standards. Additionally, the Biden Administration is developing guidance for federal agencies to help the government speed up the hiring of skilled tech workers, and the order aims to modernize criteria for highly skilled foreign workers to continue using their expertise in U.S. private industry.

The new executive order also prioritizes the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s development of standards for AI “red-teaming”—stress-testing the tech’s defenses as well as potential problems.

Responsible implementation of AI has been a focus of the Biden Administration. In July, a number of the big tech firms leading the technology’s agreed to meet a set of safeguards brokered by the Biden Administration.

“Artificial intelligence promises an enormous promise of both risk to our society and our economy and our national security, but also incredible opportunities,” Biden said on the day of that meeting.

In October 2022, the White House released an “AI Bill of Rights.” Though it wasn’t binding, the guidelines released in that action aimed to convince tech companies to take additional steps to protect consumers, such as clearly explaining how and why an automated system would be in use, and urging that the design of AI systems be equitable.

Beginning Monday,  workers with AI expertise can find relevant openings in the federal government on AI.gov.

Biden was set to sign the executive order after he and Vice President Harris deliver remarks on artificial intelligence at 2:30pm ET Monday.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

 

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