Given the breadth of the directives mandated by the executive order, it could carry implications for entities across all sectors of the market.
On October 30, 2023, President Joe Biden signed the new Executive Order on Safe, Secure and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence. The order is built on previous AI initiatives based on voluntary commitments the White House secured from leading AI companies and represents the first major binding government action on the technology. As such, the executive order depicts the latest U.S. government efforts in monitoring and regulating the risks of AI while also harnessing its potential in the economic, national security and social spheres. The executive order is guided by the following principles and priorities:
Safety and Security
The executive order directs the creation of new safety and security standards for AI, including by:
- Requiring developers of the most powerful AI systems to share their safety test results and other critical information with the federal government;
- Developing standards, tools and tests to help ensure that AI systems are safe, secure and trustworthy;
- Protecting against the risks of using AI to engineer dangerous biological materials through the development of new solid standards for biological synthesis screening;
- Mitigating AI-enabled fraud and deception by establishing standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content;
- Establishing a cybersecurity program to develop AI tools to identify and fix flaws in critical software; and
- Ordering the development of a national security memorandum that directs further actions on AI.
The executive order aims to safeguard Americans from the privacy risks posed by AI by:
- Prioritizing federal support for accelerating the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques;
- Strengthening privacy-preserving research and technologies;
- Evaluating how agencies collect and use commercially available information and strengthening privacy guidance for federal agencies to account for AI risks; and
- Developing guidelines for federal agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of privacy-preserving techniques.
Equity and Civil Rights
The executive order aims to ensure that AI advances equity and civil rights by:
- Providing clear guidance to landlords, federal benefits programs and federal contractors to keep AI algorithms from being used to exacerbate discrimination;
- Addressing algorithmic discrimination; and
- Ensuring fairness throughout the criminal justice system.
The executive order aims to protect consumers, patients and students from the risks posed by AI by:
- Advancing the responsible use of AI in healthcare and the development of affordable and life-saving drugs; and
- Shaping AI’s potential to transform education.
The executive order aims to enhance the support for workers in the labor market by:
- Developing principles and best practices to mitigate the harms and maximize the benefits of AI for workers; and
- Producing a report on AI’s potential labor-market implications and identifying ways for strengthening federal support for workers facing labor disruptions.
Innovation and Competition
The executive order aims to promote America’s innovation and competition by:
- Expanding AI research across the United States;
- Promoting a fair, open and competitive AI ecosystem; and
- Using authorities to expand the ability of highly skilled immigrants and nonimmigrants with expertise in vital areas to study, stay and work in the United States.
The executive order aims to advance American’s leadership around the world by:
- Expanding partnership engagements to collaborate on AI;
- Accelerating the development and implementation of vital AI standards; and
- Promoting the safe, responsible and rights-affirming development and deployment of AI abroad to solve global challenges.
Government Use of AI
The executive order aims to ensure responsible and effective government use of AI by:
- Issuing guidance for agencies’ use of AI;
- Helping agencies acquire specified AI products and services; and
- Accelerating the rapid hiring of AI professionals.
Given the breadth of the directives mandated by the executive order, it could carry implications for entities across all sectors of the market. Determining the extent to which the order affects an entity will entail careful assessment of not only an entity’s own use of AI, but also the extent to which its products and services incorporate or are reliant on third-party vendors’ AI-enabled capabilities. Therefore, potentially impacted companies should cross-reference their AI standards and practices against the executive order’s mandates to identify gaps and plan for future federal guidance or regulation in the field. Companies should continue to actively monitor the landscape of federal and state legislation on AI to ensure compliance with these constantly evolving regulations.
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