Biden’s Comprehensive AI Order Falls Short in Addressing Technology’s Risks

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Biden’s Ambitious AI Order The Biden administration has taken a significant step in regulating artificial intelligence (AI) with a comprehensive executive order. The primary objectives are to secure American leadership in AI and prevent potential AI abuses that could endanger civil rights and safety.

Praise for the Holistic Approach The executive order has earned praise for its comprehensive approach, aiming to regulate AI technologies across the board. Experts believe that an all-of-government approach is essential to keep pace with rapidly evolving AI technologies. Aaron Cooper, VP of global policy at BSA, a software industry trade group, commends this holistic perspective, as it goes beyond focusing on specific industries or legal aspects.

Critiques and Gaps While the order covers a wide range of AI-related aspects, some experts argue that it falls short in addressing critical issues. The executive order lacks a clear strategy for harnessing AI’s potential to prevent societal challenges, including concerns related to consumer privacy, security, and competition. It also overlooks the role of AI in promoting citizen engagement and public consultation.

Congress, Legislation, and the Need for Regulation Congressional legislation is a crucial tool for regulating and fostering AI growth. However, despite numerous hearings and proposals, there has been no significant federal legislation related to AI. Without this, individual states may implement their own, potentially conflicting, AI laws, creating a regulatory patchwork. The executive order fails to mandate AI impact assessments and risk management programs for developers and users of high-risk AI systems, leaving the role of congressional legislation vital.

The Need for a New Government Agency Some experts argue that AI, as a revolutionary technology, warrants the creation of a new government agency. Bruce Schneier, a security technologist and Harvard Kennedy School lecturer, suggests that AI’s fundamental nature requires dedicated government oversight, as seen with past transformative technologies like trains, radio, and nuclear power.

Addressing Broader Societal Challenges The executive order lacks a comprehensive strategy for addressing broader social challenges, such as democratic engagement, literacy improvement, and healthcare enhancements. There’s a need for more public engagement and conversation regarding the benefits and risks of AI, as much of the decision-making has occurred in corporate boardrooms.

A Solid Start but Ongoing Challenges Despite its limitations, the executive order introduces positive changes, including immigration reforms to attract AI expertise and measures to prevent bias in AI algorithms. The focus on supporting AI businesses is also commendable. However, given the rapid evolution of AI, the government faces the challenge of rapidly and effectively implementing the right regulatory framework.

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