Decades in Business, Technology and Digital Law

Fear of the Unknown: Or an Update on Biden’s Executive Order for AI and Subsequent Actions Taken

by | Apr 21, 2024 | Firm News


Fear of the unknown potential impact of AI on society is, understandably, rattling those in power. President Biden’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, signed on October 30, 2023, aims to establish comprehensive measures to manage the risks and capitalize on the opportunities presented by AI technologies. The key aspects of this Executive Order are listed below – as well as actions announced by the Biden administration last January that follow from this Executive Order.

  1. Safety and Security Standards: The order mandates the development of guidelines and standards to ensure AI systems are safe and secure. This involves the creation of new protocols for red-team safety testing and robust reporting requirements for AI developers, especially those working with foundational models that could pose significant risks.
  2. Privacy and Civil Rights: The order emphasizes the protection of Americans’ privacy and civil rights, including measures to prevent discrimination and ensure transparency in AI systems.
  3. Workforce and Labor: The order addresses workforce challenges by requiring reports on the labor market effects of AI and supports for workers displaced by AI technologies. There are also directives for training programs to enhance AI talent pools.
  4. Healthcare and Biotechnology: The order seeks to leverage AI in healthcare, particularly to improve services for underserved communities and enhance biosecurity. It calls for the development of AI-enabled tools that can, for example, help in personalized medicine.
  5. Innovation and Competition: The order promotes innovation and competition within the AI industry, urging the development of technologies that adhere to ethical standards and contribute positively to society.
  6. International and Domestic Collaboration: The order outlines the need for collaboration both internationally and domestically, fostering global standards for AI development and use, while ensuring that AI technologies are developed and used in ways that align with U.S. economic and security interests.
  7. Regulatory and Agency Coordination: The order establishes several committees and task forces, including an AI Safety and Security Board, to oversee and coordinate AI activities across different sectors and federal agencies.

On January 29, 2024, the Biden-Harris Administration released a fact sheet announcing significant progress in implementing President Biden’s Executive Order.

The key actions highlighted include:

  1. Regulatory Actions and Safety Measures: The administration has utilized the Defense Production Act to mandate that developers of critical AI systems disclose safety test results and other essential data to the Department of Commerce. This measure is designed to ensure the integrity and security of AI technologies used within the U.S.
  2. Innovative Initiatives: Several initiatives have been launched to bolster AI research and development. These include the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) pilot, which provides AI research resources and aims to democratize access to AI technology across different sectors. This initiative has garnered support from various government and private entities and seeks to expand its partnerships further.
  3. AI Talent Development: A government-wide push, termed the AI Talent Surge, aims to accelerate the recruitment of AI professionals. This includes large-scale hiring of data scientists and developing educational programs from K-12 through undergraduate levels to foster a future-ready workforce.
  4. Risk Assessments and Cloud Computing Regulations: Comprehensive risk assessments have been completed across all critical infrastructure sectors to gauge the security needs and potential vulnerabilities introduced by AI. Additionally, a draft rule has been proposed that would require U.S. cloud service providers to report if they are facilitating AI training for foreign entities, aiming to prevent the misuse of American computational resources.

These actions represent the administration’s commitment to advancing AI technology while ensuring it remains a safe, equitable, and beneficial advancement for all sectors of society. This approach not only addresses national security concerns but also promotes American leadership in global technological innovation.