President Joe Biden has signed a sweeping executive order to push for new protections around the rapidly growing field of artificial intelligence (AI).
The Executive Order directs actions in the areas of safety and security; privacy; equity and civil rights; protections for consumers, patients, and students; supporting workers; innovation and competition; American leadership abroad; and ensuring responsible government use of AI.
“Today, President Biden is issuing a landmark Executive Order to ensure that America leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of artificial intelligence (AI),” the White House said in a statement about the initiative. “The Executive Order establishes new standards for AI safety and security, protects Americans’ privacy, advances equity and civil rights, stands up for consumers and workers, promotes innovation and competition, advances American leadership around the world, and more.”
AI development has seen exponential growth in recent years with innovation outpacing regulatory concerns, leading to worries regarding ethics and risks to national security. AI can now generate images, audio, and video content that seem so authentic an average consumer cannot discern that it’s fake.
Last month, a senate panel heard testimony warning that the AI boom means U.S. adversaries “now and into the foreseeable future will attack us at machine speed through a constant barrage of cyber operations, mis/dis/mal information as well as entirely new forms of anti-access/area denial kill webs that fuse open source and sensitive intelligence to direct swarm attacks at civilian and military targets.”
In 2022, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that China and Russia are making “significant investments in AI for national security purposes,” while cautioning that AI is “expected to transform all sectors of society.”
A recent survey of more than 2,000 technology leaders found that nearly 90 percent agree that stronger regulation of AI technology is needed.
“Despite the attention around AI, the application and adoption of AI is really in its nascent stage,” Jason Pyle, President of Harvey Nash US & Canada Market, said about the survey. “What our survey findings reveal is that the technology behind AI is moving faster than the strategies and policies to support it, and tech leaders are finding themselves squeezed in the middle. As we look ahead to 2024, we expect tech leaders to focus on a few key areas within AI: developing more guidelines around the use and application of AI, putting safety and privacy front and center, and demonstrating its ROI and metrics.”
The Biden administration has taken multiple steps toward building guardrails around the field of AI by creating a blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, creating a national AI research and development strategic plan, and creating a national AI research Taskforce.