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Sunday, December 10, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Biden focuses on safe, trustworthy AI in executive order

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Biden's leadership "will responsibly pioneer this transformative technology while managing its risks."

(CN) — President Joe Biden on Monday issued an executive order on artificial intelligence, calling for the creation of standards for safety and the protection of privacy, as well as promoting innovation and competition for the rapidly developing technology.

The order seeks to pave the way for America to take advantage of the promises AI heralds while coping with the risks it poses. It builds on the administration’s prior moves on the topic, which include commitments from 15 top companies to achieve the safe, secure and trustworthy growth of AI.

Biden’s executive order falls on the heels of an order by California Governor Gavin Newsom issued in September. That order set the stage for how his state will approach the development of ethical, transparent and trustworthy AI.

“President Biden’s leadership will ensure that our country, and especially California, will responsibly pioneer this transformative technology while managing its risks,” Newsom said in a statement. “This is a measured approach that focuses on the right priorities — protecting the American people and our privacy, advancing equity, supporting workers, and promoting innovation.”

Biden’s executive order focuses on eight main categories: standards for AI safety and security; protecting people’s privacy; advancing equity and civil rights; supporting consumers, patients and students; supporting workers; promoting innovation and competition; advancing U.S. leadership abroad; and ensuring the responsible and effective use of AI by the government.

The order calls on AI developers to share safety test results and other information with the federal government. Additionally, standards, tools and tests must be created to keep AI systems safe, while protecting against the possibility of someone using AI to make dangerous biological materials.

Best practices for detecting AI-created content, and confirming official content, also is a priority, as is the creation of a cybersecurity program to fix vulnerable parts of essential software.

Pivoting to privacy protection, the executive order calls for government support to speed up the development of techniques to preserve people’s privacy. Agencies would be evaluated on how they gather and use available information. Guidelines would exist for federal agencies to gauge the strength of privacy-protecting tools.

The executive order also instructs agencies to fight algorithmic discrimination, as the improper use of AI can lead to and exacerbate discrimination and bias. Landlords, federal benefits programs and federal contractors will have guidance to stop AI algorithms from worsening discrimination. The Department of Justice and federal civil rights offices will coordinate on best practices for investigating and bringing civil rights violations to court.

Additionally, best practices will be written for using AI in sentencing, parole and probation matters, as well as risk assessments, crime forecasting and other aspects of criminal law.

Concerning support for consumers, patients and students, the responsible use of AI in health care and making affordable, life-saving medication is essential. The Department of Health and Human Services will make a program to receive reports and deal with improper health care practices.

Workers will receive support through the creation of best practices for lessening harms and heightening benefits by focusing on job displacement, labor standards and data collection, among other aspects.

Biden hopes to fuel innovation and competition through the National AI Research Resource, which will give access to AI resources and data to researchers and students. Grants will be expanded for AI research in areas like health care and climate change.

The task of advancing the country’s leadership in other nations means the safe and trustworthy creation of AI across the globe. Biden intends to grow bilateral, multilateral and other relationships to make a strong international framework to use AI’s benefits and curtail its risks. He’s also called for international AI standards and the promotion of safe AI to address global issues.

Finally, the president wants to ensure AI is used responsibly and effectively by the government.

Government agencies must have clear standards for AI’s use. It also must quickly hire AI professionals and deliver AI training for its employees at all levels.

Categories / Government, Science, Technology

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