Artificial intelligence is on everyone’s radars, thanks in part to the explosion of popularity and acceptance of generative AI systems like ChatGPT. President Joe Biden on Monday issued an executive order laying out some rules of the road for developing and using AI in a safe way.
Beyond establishing rules for the development of AI, the executive order also specifically advocates for protecting the privacy of Americas, advancing equity and civil rights, preserving consumer rights, protecting jobs, promoting innovation and competition, advancing American leadership across borders, and ensuring the effective government use of the technology.
The guidelines represent an unusually proactive approach by the government, although one that’s critical as Big Tech and seemingly every other company pours resources into developing AI systems. The investment and interest over AI comes amid warnings from experts about both the unintended consequences of the technology and the ethical and moral questions it raises.
Typically, government regulations comes well after technology has entrenched itself (see: the internet and social media). But the rise of AI has been so pervasive that no one can ignore both its potential opportunities and dangers.
Here are some the highlights:
- To address AI safety, the government is requiring the major developers share their safety test results with the U.S. government. It’s also requiring those developer create standards, tools and tests to ensure their safety. It will also establish a cybersecurity program to develop AI tools to find and fix vulnerabilities in critical software, and tackle the topic of AI-generated content and authentication.
- To address privacy, the government is looking to strengthen privacy-preserving research and technologies, evaluate how agencies collect and use information and develop guidelines for how agencies protect their data.
- To address equity and civil rights, the Biden administration is looking to tackle algorithmic discrimination and to give guidance to landlords, federal benefits programs and federal contractors to not rely on AI systems to spread discrimination.
- On the consumer side, the order seeks the use of AI to aid in the development of drugs, as well as create resources to support teachers with AI-enabled educational tools, with a specific mention of personalized tutoring.
- To address labor concerns, the order asks for the creation of principles and best practices to mitigate the harms from AI displacing workers. The government will also produce a report on AI’s potential labor-market impact.
- The order calls for the creation of a National AI Research Resource to spark more research in the area, with the intention of providing resources and technical assistance to small businesses.
- It will also expand the development of vital AI standards with international partners and standards organization, creating rules that are observed globally.
- The order also issues guidance for how agencies can use AI, and calls for the rapid hiring of AI professionals.