On Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden is set to enact comprehensive measures related to artificial intelligence (AI), aimed at enhancing safety and safeguarding the interests of consumers, workers, and minority groups from the potential risks associated with this technology.
The executive order that he will introduce represents the most recent action taken by the administration to establish guidelines for AI. This move is prompted by the technology’s swift advancement and growing popularity, within a regulatory landscape that has, thus far, been limited.
AI firms like OpenAI, Alphabet (GOOGL.O), and Meta Platforms (META.O) had previously taken voluntary steps to ensure AI-generated content is watermarked in order to enhance the safety of the technology.
However, the forthcoming executive order, which President Biden will emphasize during an event on Monday, surpasses these voluntary measures. It mandates that developers of AI systems with potential risks to U.S. national security, the economy, public health, or safety must disclose the outcomes of safety assessments to the U.S. government. This requirement aligns with the Defense Production Act and must be fulfilled before these AI systems can be made available to the public.
The executive order also instructs federal agencies to establish criteria for conducting these safety tests and to handle potential risks in areas such as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity, as stated by the White House.
In an effort to ensure clarity in government communications, the Commerce Department will be tasked with creating guidelines for content authentication and watermarking for AI-generated materials that require labeling, as detailed in the White House’s announcement regarding the order.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed characterized the executive order as the most robust set of actions taken by any government to ensure AI security. The order covers a range of topics, including privacy, housing discrimination, and job displacement. Reed stated that it’s a proactive strategy to harness AI benefits while mitigating risks on all fronts.
The Group of Seven (G7) industrial countries is set to establish a code of conduct for companies involved in advanced AI development, as indicated in a G7 document.
In response to criticisms regarding the comparative aggressiveness of AI regulation in Europe, a senior administration official emphasized that the executive order carries the force of law. The White House believes that legislative action from Congress is also necessary for effective AI governance. President Biden specifically calls on Congress to pass legislation related to data privacy.
US officials have highlighted the potential for AI to amplify bias and civil rights issues. The executive order aims to address these concerns by requesting guidance for landlords, federal benefits programs, and federal contractors to prevent AI algorithms from exacerbating discrimination.
The order also seeks to develop best practices for addressing potential harms caused by AI, such as job displacement and mandates a report on the impact of AI on the labor market.
Vice President Kamala Harris is set to participate in a global AI summit in Britain, where China is also expected to be represented. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has emphasized that only governments can effectively address the risks associated with AI, including its potential for enabling the creation of chemical or biological weapons and escaping human control.
Reported by Jeff Mason; additional reporting by John Kruzel; edited by Grant McCool.