WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will sign a sweeping new executive order Monday targeting artificial intelligence in his administration’s most aggressive move to date to confront growing concerns the technology poses to the U.S. workforce, privacy and national security.
The order, invoking the Defense Production Act, will require that companies developing the most advanced AI platforms notify the government when developing the systems and share the results of safety tests. The tests are conducted through a risk assessment process called “red-teaming.”
Under the order, the National Institute of Standards and Technology will set standards for the red-team testing that are aimed at ensuring safety prior to released.
That includes taking aim at the potential use of AI to engineer dangerous biological materials by requiring fund life-science projects to adopt standards biological synthesis screening as a condition for federal funding.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed called Biden’s order “the strongest set of actions any government in the world has ever taken on AI safety, security, and trust.”
“It’s the next step in an aggressive strategy to do everything on all fronts to harness the benefits of AI and mitigate the risks,” Reed said.
To improve transparency for the public, the Department of Commerce will develop guidelines for companies to be required to clearly label all AI-generated content.
Other actions in the order include:
Prioritizing federal support for AI systems that adopt steps to protect Americans’ privacy
Strengthening privacy guidance for federal agencies and developing privacy guidelines for federal agencies
Providing guidance to landlords, federal benefits programs and federal contractors to keep AI algorithms from exacerbating discrimination
Developing “principles and best practices” to mitigate the harms – and maximizing the benefits – of AI for workers by addressing job displacement, labor standards, workplace equity, health, safety and data collection. This includes a report on AI’s labor-market impacts.
Expanding grants for AI to help in vital areas such as climate change and health care and launching the National AI Research Source to make available AI data to AI students and researchers.
Tasking the State Department to lead an effort to create an international framework to manage risks and ensure safety with AI.
IBM, which operates an AI platfrom called watsonx, applauded the executive order. “This Executive Order sends a critical message: that AI used by the United States government will be responsible AI,” said IBM chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna.
Hodan Omaar, senior policy analyst for the Center for Data Innovation, said the order provides the AI industry with long-awaited guidance.
“Amid a sea of chaotic chatter about how to implement appropriate guardrails for AI, today’s executive order sets a clear course for the United States,” he said.
Hundreds of scientists, tech industry executives and public figures – including leaders of Google, Microsoft and ChatGPT – sounded the alarm about artificial intelligence in a public statement in May, arguing that fast-evolving AI technology could create as great a risk of killing off humankind as nuclear war and COVID-19-like pandemics.
“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” said the one-sentence statement, which was released by the Center for AI Safety, or CAIS, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization.
Biden in May met with CEOs of leading AI companies including Google, Microsoft and OpenA to discuss reforms that ensure AI products are safe before released to the public.
Reach Joey Garrison on X, formerly known as Twitter, @joeygarrison.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Biden signs sweeping artificial intelligence executive order
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