President Joe Biden’s upcoming executive order on artificial intelligence (AI) aims to address the risks associated with the technology by governing federal agencies’ use of AI. The order leverages the government’s position as a top customer for tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon to drive changes in their AI products. Developers of powerful AI systems will be required to report their training and testing processes to the federal government. The order is expected to be released soon and comes at a time when there is both fear and excitement over AI’s rapid advancement.
The use of generative AI, which can produce text, visuals, and audio almost instantly, has become widespread, offering tools for various applications. However, concerns about privacy, misinformation, discrimination, and job displacement have prompted calls for government action to mitigate AI’s risks. While federal leaders have shown an appetite to set rules that protect against these dangers, a comprehensive response has yet to emerge. Biden’s directive aims to promote the safe and responsible deployment of AI with a government-wide strategy.
The executive order also addresses issues of hiring and discrimination. The Department of Labor will be directed to examine federal agencies’ support for workers displaced by AI and develop guidelines for federal contractors to prevent discrimination in AI-driven hiring systems. The order also encourages the Federal Communications Commission to consider using AI to block unwanted robocalls and texts and calls on immigration officials to streamline visa requirements for foreign workers with AI expertise.
Privacy is another key focus of the executive order, with safeguards requiring disclosure of how AI technology is used by federal agencies to collect or use citizens’ information. The order follows voluntary commitments made by leading AI companies to deploy AI safely and the administration’s AI “Bill of Rights” blueprint document, which provides a rights-based framework for safe AI development and use. The order also reflects the US’s efforts to maintain its competitive edge in AI, particularly as China races to become the world leader in the technology.
The executive order is expected to be signed by President Biden just before Vice President Kamala Harris and industry leaders attend a summit in the UK on AI risks. This will provide specific actions on AI for Harris to highlight on the world stage, as the European Union and China surpass the US in developing AI regulation.