The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Executive Order President Biden has issued on October 30, 2023, is a pivotal moment in the United States’ approach to AI policy. It signals the government’s commitment to advancing AI technology while ensuring ethical use and responsible deployment. The aim of the executive order is to make the United States a leader in safe, secure, and trustworthy AI. But will this foundation set the standard for AI best practices? Below is a breakdown of what the executive order focuses on:
- AI Safety and Security: The Order mandates stringent safety tests and information sharing for high-risk AI systems, establishing the most robust governmental AI safety measures to date.
- Data Sharing and Infrastructure: Data is the lifeblood of AI and the executive order seeks to improve data sharing and accessibility across government agencies. Additionally, it addresses the need for infrastructure investments to facilitate AI deployment, such as the development of high-performance computing capabilities. Improved data sharing and infrastructure will provide government agencies and private entities with the data-driven insights necessary for informed decision making and AI development.
- Privacy Protection: It calls for the development of privacy-preserving techniques and legislative action to protect Americans’ data, especially in the context of AI.
- Equity and Civil Rights: The Order addresses algorithmic discrimination and aims to ensure fairness in sectors like justice, healthcare, and housing.
- Consumer and Worker Rights: It outlines measures to protect consumers from AI-related risks and supports workers against job displacement and unfair labor practices.
- Innovation and Competition: The Order aims to bolster innovation while maintaining leadership in AI by fostering research in various domains, fostering public-private partnerships, supporting small businesses, and supporting AI-related education. By investing in AI research and development and promoting a skilled AI workforce, the executive order aims to enhance economic growth and foster innovation across industries from healthcare to manufacturing.
- Building a Skilled Workforce: Recognizing the importance of AI in the future economy, the executive order places emphasis on training and upskilling the American workforce. It outlines plans for AI workforce development, including scholarships, training programs, and apprenticeships. As well as streamlining visa processes for AI experts.
- Global Leadership and Collaboration: The US recognizes AI is a global endeavor. The executive order encourages international collaboration and engagement with like-minded nations to provide AI innovation and responsible AI use on a global scale. The call for international collaboration positions the US as a leader in AI diplomacy and innovation. It offers opportunities for cross-border partnerships, and cooperative efforts in addressing global AI changes, and sets the intention of the U.S.’s commitment to collaborate internationally on AI safety and standards.
- Ethical AI and National Security: Guidelines are set for responsible AI deployment within federal agencies, including rapid hiring of AI professionals. The executive order underscores the importance of ethical AI development, responsible use, and consideration of national security implications. This includes establishing AI principles, standards, and guidelines that adhere to ethical norms and national security interests. This is expected to lead to increased transparency and accountability of AI applications.
This Executive Order is a monumental step in balancing the rapid innovation of AI technology with the ethical considerations and risks it presents. As AI continues to shape our world, the implications of this executive order has already produced reactions from top leaders in AI such as Yann LeCun and Andrew Ng.
Yann LeCun has said that it isn’t AI research or development that needs to be regulated, but the small number of companies “lobbying for a ban on open AI R&D” on the platform X. This thought is echoed by Andrew Ng when he stated, “There are definitely large companies that would rather not have to try to compete with open source, so they’re creating the fear of AI leading to human extinction.” Other experts have said the executive order is a good start, but will the lack of technical expertise cause difficulty to getting these “requirements implemented consistently and expeditiously” as Daniel Ho stated in Scientific American?
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