Early Monday morning, the White House announced President Biden unveiled a wide-ranging executive order on artificial intelligence - the first of its kind. This comes after tech billionaires, such as Elon Musk, have called for a "regulatory structure" for AI due to risks to civilization.
The order is broad and aims to establish new standards for AI safety and security, protect Americans' privacy, advance equity and civil rights, stand up for consumers and workers, promote innovation and competition, and position the US to lead the global AI race.
On Sunday, a White House official, who asked not to be named, told NBC News that AI has so many factors that effective regulations must be broad.
"AI policy is like running into a decathlon, and there's 10 different events here.
"And we don't have the luxury of just picking 'we're just going to do safety' or 'we're just going to do equity' or 'we're just going to do privacy.' You have to do all of these things," the official said.
The order uses the Defense Production Act, mandating that tech firms must inform the government when developing any AI system that could pose risks to national security, national economic security, or national public health and safety.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed told NBC the order represents "the strongest set of actions any government in the world has ever taken on AI safety, security, and trust."
Biden has been vocal about about the need for AI regulation. He has held discussions with tech leaders, civil society leaders, and labor unions about the rapidly evolving technology without choking competition. At the moment, OpenAI, Google, Microsoft, Meta, and Nvidia are some of the leaders in the space.
"I have a keen interest in AI and convened key experts on how to harness the power of artificial intelligence for good while protecting people from the profound risk it also presents," Biden said in San Francisco last month.
Here's a summary of the executive order:
- AI Safety and Security Measures:
Developers of powerful AI systems must share safety test results with the US government.
AI systems posing risks to national security, economy, or public health must notify the government during development.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology to set rigorous safety standards.
The Department of Homeland Security to establish an AI Safety and Security Board.
Address threats to critical infrastructure and cybersecurity risks.
- Biological Risks and AI-Enabled Fraud Protection:
Develop standards for biological synthesis screening to counter AI-engineered biological threats.
Establish standards for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content.
- Advanced Cybersecurity Program:
Develop AI tools to identify and fix vulnerabilities in critical software.
- National Security Memorandum on AI:
Direct further actions on AI and security for military and intelligence use.
- Privacy Protections:
Accelerate development of privacy-preserving techniques.
Strengthen research in privacy-preserving technologies.
Evaluate agencies' use of commercially available information.
Develop guidelines for evaluating privacy-preserving techniques in AI.
- Equity and Civil Rights:
Guidance to prevent AI algorithms from exacerbating discrimination.
Address algorithmic discrimination in civil rights violations.
Develop best practices for AI use in the criminal justice system.
- Consumer, Patient, and Student Protections:
Responsible use of AI in healthcare and education.
Safety program for reporting harms in healthcare involving AI.
- Support for Workers:
Develop principles to mitigate AI harms and maximize benefits for workers.
Report on AI's potential labor-market impacts.
- Promoting Innovation and Competition:
Catalyze AI research and provide resources for small developers.
Encourage FTC to exercise authorities for a competitive AI ecosystem.
Streamline visa processes for skilled immigrants in critical areas.
- American Leadership Abroad:
Collaborate internationally on AI safety and standards.
Promote responsible AI development globally.
- Responsible Government Use of AI:
Issue guidance for agencies' AI use, including standards to protect rights and safety.
Accelerate hiring of AI professionals and provide AI training in relevant fields.
Biden's social media team posted on X about "Making AI Work for the American People."
Artificial Intelligence is moving quickly.— President Biden (@POTUS) October 30, 2023
And so is my Administration.
Visit https://t.co/RqhfxoxjQ6 and see how we're harnessing the power of AI and keeping all Americans safe in the process.
Musk recently told reporters: "When there is something that is a potential danger to the public, you want to have some oversight."