Biden signs executive order for AI safeguards, promotion in the US

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Monday  that he said would promote safe, secure and trustworthy artificial intelligence development.

“I’m about to sign an executive order that is the most significant action any government anywhere in the world has ever taken on AI safety, security and trust,” Biden said. “This order builds on the critical steps we’ve already taken to ensure the AI Bill of Rights to bring together leading AI companies who have agreed to voluntarily make sort of certain commitments to make sure AI is safe, and the system is secure.”

The executive order also promotes responsible AI innovation.

The executive order directs new standards for AI safety and security by requiring those who develop powerful AI systems share their safety test results and other “critical information” with the U.S. government.

The order requires companies that develop 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” in compliance with the Defense Production Act, a fact sheet about the order states.

Another aspect of AI safety and security is developing standards, tools and tests to help ensure AI systems are safe, secure and trustworthy.

One of these tools is a testing standard set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to make sure the AI technology is safe prior to public release.

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The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy were ordered to address AI system threats to critical infrastructure and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and cybersecurity threats.

“The President’s Executive Order defines a seminal path for the safe and secure use of AI. It directs DHS to manage AI in critical infrastructure and cyberspace, promote the adoption of AI safety standards globally, reduce the risk of AI’s use to create weapons of mass destruction, combat AI-related intellectual property theft, and ensure our immigration system attracts talent to develop responsible AI in the United States. The AI Safety and Security Advisory Board, which I look forward to chairing, will bring together industry experts, leading academics, and government leaders to help guide the responsible development and safe deployment of AI,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement following the order’s signing.

Other standards for AI safety and security include:

  • Protect against the risks of using AI to engineer dangerous biological materials
  • Protect Americans from AI-enabled fraud and deception by establishing standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content
  • Establish an advanced cybersecurity program to develop AI tools to find and fix vulnerabilities in crucial software
  • Order the development of a National Security Memorandum directing further actions on AI and security

Another aspect of the order was protecting Americans’ privacy by urging Congress to pass bipartisan data privacy legislation to protect Americans of all ages, especially children.

Some ways the order gives to help with preserving computer users’  personal data include prioritizing federal support for accelerating development and use of privacy preserving techniques, strengthening privacy-preserving research and technologies, evaluate how agencies collect and use commercially available information, strengthening privacy guidance for federal agencies and developing guidelines for federal agencies to evaluate privacy-preserving techniques’ effectiveness.

MORE: From lawsuits to legislation: How artificial intelligence is affecting the creative economy

The order also tackles the issue of advancing equity and civil rights.

Additionally, it provides guidance to landlords, federal benefits programs and federal contractors to prevent AI algorithms from being used in discriminatory ways, addressing algorithmic discrimination, ensuring fairness through the criminal justice system by developing best practices for AI use in things like sentencing, parole, probation, pretrial release and detention, risk assessments and surveillance.

The order also directs advancing responsible AI use in healthcare, shaping AI’s potential to change education by making resources to help educators deploying AI-enabled tools.

The order also aims to help workers collective bargaining, investing in universal workforce training and development by helping workers with job displacement, labor standards, workplace equity, health and safety and data collection.

“These principles and best practices will benefit workers by providing guidance to prevent employers from undercompensating workers, evaluating job applications unfairly, or impinging on workers’ ability to organize,” the order states.

The order also promotes innovation and competition across the country, advancing American AI leadership abroad and ensuring the U.S. government uses AI responsibly and effectively.

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