In a first-of-its-kind occurrence, United States President Joe Biden has signed an executive order aimed at creating “consensus industry standards” for developing safe and trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI), marking a significant shift in the regulation of emerging AI technologies in the U.S.
The order lays out eight key areas of focus including AI Safety and Security, Privacy Protection, Equity and Civil Rights Advancements, Consumers, Patients and Students’ Rights, Workforce Support, Innovation and Competition Promotion, American Leadership Abroad and Responsible Government Use of AI.
A cornerstone of the order is the request for major AI companies to share their safety test results with the government and to develop new tools to safeguard against potential AI mishaps, ranging vastly from AI-assisted fraud to AI-generated bioweapons. This regulation highlights the Defense Production Act to enforce the sharing of safety test results from AI developers if their tools pose a national security threat.
Additionally, the order mandates the Secretary of Commerce devise guidelines for labeling AI-generated content, a move to counter the rise of AI-generated Child Sexual Abuse Material online. Despite the existing challenge of inconsistent generative AI detectors, this initiative aims to ensure authenticity in government communications with the citizens of the U.S.
The order also brings attention to the importance of inclusivity of workers in the AI development process, safeguarding workers’ rights and promoting innovation by attracting global AI talent to the US through eased immigration restrictions.
However, at the time of writing, the order as it stands now has received mixed reactions from the tech community, with some expressing cautious optimism and others criticizing the government’s reliance on self-regulation by tech giants and the lack of a stronger stance on invasive AI tech — like facial recognition.
Despite some criticism, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Bruce Reed, hailed the order as “the strongest set of actions any government in the world has ever taken on AI safety, security and trust.” However, experts agree that more detailed policy outlines are needed to fully address the complex challenges posed by AI technologies.
In related tech news, Google commits a $2B USD investment to OpenAI rival Anthropic.