White House Issues Executive Order on AI

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The White House this morning issued an executive order aimed at addressing concerns about the safety, security and trustworthiness of AI.

While the specifics of the EO will need to be defined by federal agency rules and regulations, the order directs the following, “sweeping” actions that the White House said “are the most significant actions ever taken by any government to advance the field of AI safety”:                           :

  • Require that AI system developers share their safety test results and other critical information with the U.S. government. In accordance with the Defense Production Act, the EO will require that companies developing foundation models that pose a serious risk to national security, national economic security or national public health and safety must notify the federal government when training the model, and must share the results of all red-team safety tests. These measures will ensure AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy before companies make them public.
  • Develop standards, tools, and tests to help ensure that AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy. The National Institute of Standards and Technology will set the rigorous standards for extensive red-team testing to ensure safety before public release. The Department of Homeland Security will apply those standards to critical infrastructure sectors and establish the AI Safety and Security Board. The Departments of Energy and Homeland Security will also address AI systems’ threats to critical infrastructure, as well as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity risks.
  • Protect against the risks of using AI to engineer dangerous biological materials by developing strong new standards for biological synthesis screening. Agencies that fund life-science projects will establish these standards as a condition of federal funding, creating powerful incentives to ensure appropriate screening and manage risks potentially made worse by AI.
  • Protect Americans from AI-enabled fraud and deception by establishing standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content. The Department of Commerce will develop guidance for content authentication and watermarking to clearly label AI-generated content. Federal agencies will use these tools to make it easy for Americans to know that the communications they receive from their government are authentic—and set an example for the private sector and governments around the world.
  • Establish an advanced cybersecurity program to develop AI tools to find and fix vulnerabilities in critical software, building on the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing AI Cyber Challenge. Together, these efforts will harness AI’s potentially game-changing cyber capabilities to make software and networks more secure.
  • Order the development of a National Security Memorandum that directs further actions on AI and security, to be developed by the National Security Council and White House Chief of Staff. This document will ensure that the United States military and intelligence community use AI safely, ethically, and effectively in their missions, and will direct actions to counter adversaries’ military use of AI.

Regarding privacy protection, the EO calls for “prioritizing federal support for accelerating the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques—including ones that use cutting-edge AI and that let AI systems be trained while preserving the privacy of the training data.”

The EO stated that irresponsible uses of AI can lead to and deepen discrimination, bias, and other abuses in justice, healthcare and housing. The Administration has already addressed this concern by publishing the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and issuing an Executive Order directing agencies to combat algorithmic discrimination, while enforcing existing authorities to protect people’s rights and safety. Today’s EO calls for the following additional actions:

  • Provide clear guidance to landlords, federal benefits programs and federal contractors to keep AI algorithms from being used to exacerbate discrimination.
  • Address algorithmic discrimination through training, technical assistance, and coordination between the Department of Justice and federal civil rights offices on best practices for investigating and prosecuting civil rights violations related to AI.
  • Ensure fairness throughout the criminal justice system by developing best practices on the use of AI in sentencing, parole and probation, pretrial release and detention, risk assessments, surveillance, crime forecasting and predictive policing, and forensic analysis.

In the area of consumer protection, the White House said AI raises the risk of injuring, misleading or otherwise harming Americans. To EO calls for the use of AI in healthcare and the development of affordable and life-saving drugs. The Department of Health and Human Services will also establish a safety program to receive reports of—and act to remedy – harms or unsafe healthcare practices involving AI.

To combat the dangers of AI for increased workplace surveillance, bias, and job displacement, the order expresses support for workers’ ability to bargain collectively, and invest in workforce training and accessible development.

For more on the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to advance AI, and for opportunities to join the Federal AI workforce, visit AI.gov.

 

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