On Monday, the Biden Administration signed an executive order on AI that aims to address concerns on safety while not hampering innovation. The goal of this order is an attempt to balance consumer rights, market needs, and national security concerns by creating an early set of guardrails that in turn could be fortified by future legislation.
In a report by the Associated Press, the President stated that AI was driving change at “warp speed” and with this change, a great deal of danger can follow. The president went on to say, “AI is all around us,…To realize the promise of AI and avoid the risk, we need to govern this technology.”.
As many have noted over the last couple of years, warp speed is a fitting comparison as AI’s scale in just about every industry has grown tremendously. However with the growth of generative AI, fears related to AI safety, bias, and black hat actors have also increased.
The order itself is an early step in the process of governing AI in the United States. The goal of this is to incentivize trustworthy AI over negative variants. Of course, this would also need to be followed by Congressional action in the near future.
And though it might seem that this may not happen, Congress, since the beginning of the year at least, has been working on addressing AI in one of its few bipartisan efforts. Back in September, tech leaders met with both the US House and Senate to address AI, regulation, and the future of the technology.
The executive order also uses the Defense Production Act to require AI developers to share safety test results and other information with the government. From there, The National Institute of Standards and Technology is to create a series of standards to ensure AI tools meet both safety and security requirements before public release.
It doesn’t end there. The Commerce Department has been directed to issue guidance on labeling and watermarking of AI-generated content to help distinguish human and AI-generated interactions.
The order also briefly touches on other issues such as privacy, consumer protections, workers’ rights, scientific research, and civil rights. Of the order, White House chief of staff Jeff Zients mentioned Biden’s view of the AI, “We can’t move at a normal government pace,…We have to move as fast, if not faster, than the technology itself.”.
This move is still behind China’s own in terms of governing generative AI. The EU is in the early stages of a new sweeping law to govern AI as well.