On October 30th, President Biden issued an Executive Order aimed at securing America’s leadership in harnessing the potential and mitigating the risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI). This order introduces new standards for the safety and security of AI, safeguards privacy, promotes equity and civil rights, advocates for consumers and workers, drives innovation and competition, strengthens American global leadership, and more. It’s important to note that there won’t be any actual rules or benefits for months because it will take a while for Federal Agencies to implement the order.

As part of the comprehensive strategy for responsible innovation by the Biden-Harris Administration, this Executive Order builds upon prior actions taken by the President. These actions led to voluntary commitments from 15 prominent companies to ensure the development of AI that is safe, secure, and trustworthy.

Key Directives of the Executive Order

With AI’s capabilities continuing to expand, the potential implications for the safety and security of Americans grow. This order mandates the most far-reaching measures to protect against the potential risks of AI systems, including:

  • Requiring developers of the most potent AI systems to share safety test results and vital information with the U.S. government. Companies working on foundational AI models with significant risks to national security, economic security, or public health must notify the federal government during model training and share the results of comprehensive safety tests.
  • Creating standards, tools, and tests to ensure the safety, security, and trustworthiness of AI systems. The National Institute of Standards and Technology will establish rigorous standards for extensive safety testing before public release. The Department of Homeland Security will apply these standards to critical infrastructure sectors and create the AI Safety and Security Board. The Departments of Energy and Homeland Security will address AI system threats to critical infrastructure and other risks.
  • Safeguarding against the risks associated with using AI to engineer dangerous biological materials by creating robust new standards for biological synthesis screening. Agencies funding life science projects will require compliance with these standards to secure federal funding, thus incentivizing appropriate screening and risk management exacerbated by AI.
  • Shielding Americans from AI-enabled fraud and deception by setting standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content. The Department of Commerce will provide guidance for content authentication and watermarking to clearly label AI-generated content. Federal agencies will employ these tools to ensure the authenticity of communications from the government, setting an example for the private sector and global governments.
  • Developing an advanced cybersecurity program to develop AI tools for identifying and rectifying vulnerabilities in critical software, enhancing security. These efforts will harness AI’s potential to enhance cybersecurity significantly and make software and networks more secure.
  • Ordering the development of a National Security Memorandum to direct further actions concerning AI and security, ensuring the safe, ethical, and effective use of AI by the U.S. military and intelligence community, while countering adversaries’ military use of AI.

Protecting Americans’ Privacy

AI can put Americans’ privacy at risk. This order calls on Congress to pass bipartisan data privacy legislation to protect all Americans, especially children. The directives include:

  • Prioritizing federal support for accelerating the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques that leverage cutting-edge AI to safeguard the privacy of training data.
  • Strengthening privacy-preserving research and technologies, such as cryptographic tools, through a Research Coordination Network to foster rapid breakthroughs. The National Science Foundation will collaborate with this network to encourage the adoption of leading-edge privacy-preserving technologies by federal agencies.
  • Evaluating how agencies collect and use commercially available information, focusing on commercially available data containing personally identifiable information, and enhancing privacy guidance for federal agencies.
  • Developing guidelines for federal agencies to assess the effectiveness of privacy-preserving techniques, particularly in AI systems, to protect Americans’ data.

Advancing Equity and Civil Rights

The Executive Order seeks to prevent discrimination, bias, and abuses in justice, healthcare, and housing resulting from irresponsible AI use. Additional actions include:

  • Providing guidance to landlords, federal benefits programs, and federal contractors to prevent AI algorithms from exacerbating discrimination.
  • Addressing algorithmic discrimination through training, technical assistance, and coordination between the Department of Justice and federal civil rights offices to investigate and prosecute civil rights violations related to AI.
  • Ensuring fairness throughout the criminal justice system by developing best practices for the use of AI in various aspects, including sentencing, parole, pretrial release, risk assessments, surveillance, and forensic analysis.

Standing Up for Consumers, Patients, and Students

To protect consumers while ensuring AI’s potential benefits, the President directs the following actions:

  • Advancing the responsible use of AI in healthcare and the development of affordable and life-saving drugs.
  • Promoting AI’s potential to transform education by providing support for educators using AI-enabled educational tools.
  • Supporting workers by developing principles and best practices to mitigate harm and maximize AI benefits for workers and conducting a report on AI’s potential labor-market impacts.

Promoting Innovation and Competition

To maintain leadership in AI innovation, the Executive Order outlines measures to catalyze AI research, promote a fair and competitive AI ecosystem, and expand opportunities for highly skilled immigrants and nonimmigrants with expertise in critical areas to study and work in the United States.

Advancing American Leadership Abroad

The President directs actions to collaborate with international partners, establish international AI frameworks, and accelerate the development and implementation of AI standards with global cooperation.

Ensuring Responsible and Effective Government Use of AI

The Executive Order encourages government deployment of AI while safeguarding against risks like discrimination and unsafe decisions. It also modernizes federal AI infrastructure. These directives represent crucial steps in the United States’ approach to safe, secure, and trustworthy AI. Further actions and cooperation with Congress will be necessary to ensure responsible innovation. Stay tuned for continuing updates on this order and how it may affect your specific situation.