The White House announced on Monday that President Joe Biden has issued an executive order on artificial intelligence that focuses on safety standards for the new technology and management of its potential risks.
A press release from the White House states the executive order directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish new safety standards for artificial intelligence (AI) technology that are the “most sweeping actions ever taken to protect Americans from the potential risks of AI systems.”
White House deputy chief of staff Bruce Reed echoed these statements, saying, “Biden is rolling out 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, per Axios.
Actions taken to ensure the safety of AI tools include a new requirement for companies to share safety test results with the government and develop standards, tools, and tests to help ensure that the technology is trustworthy.
In addition to creating new safety standards, the executive order calls on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation protecting the privacy of American citizens by strengthening “privacy-preserving research and technologies.”
Congress was also asked to “prioritiz[e] federal support for accelerating the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques” and create guidelines that determine the effectiveness of existing techniques meant to preserve Americans’ privacy.
The order also directs different federal offices and departments to set standards for protecting consumers and supporting workers. Furthermore, the order establishes the requirement for a “report on AI’s potential labor-market impacts, and study and identify options for strengthening federal support for workers facing labor disruptions, including from AI.”
Reed said that Biden has made addressing AI a priority because “He was as impressed and alarmed as anyone.”
“He saw fake AI images of himself, of his dog. He saw how it can make bad poetry. And he’s seen and heard the incredible and terrifying technology of voice cloning, which can take three seconds of your voice and turn it into an entire fake conversation,” said Reed, as reported by The Associated Press.
Biden earlier this year obtained voluntary commitments to safety standards from several of the country’s most prominent AI companies, including Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Meta, OpenAI, Anthropic, and Inflection, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
These commitments included a variety of actions, such as using a third party to evaluate the security of technology prior to a public release and a promise to label AI-generated content clearly.
Monday’s executive order is intended to make such safety standards common practice among all AI companies.
The White House said that the directives in the executive order are “vital steps forward in the U.S.’s approach on safe, secure, and trustworthy AI.”
However, it noted, “More action will be required, and the Administration will continue to work with Congress to pursue bipartisan legislation to help America lead the way in responsible innovation.”