Biden’s AI Executive Order
President Joe Biden has issued an executive order focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) that outlines multiple directives for federal agencies to accomplish within a year. This order emphasizes the broader use of AI within the US government and increased oversight over commercial AI applications.
One key aspect of the executive order is the imposition of reporting requirements on companies developing powerful AI technology, including large AI models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The government, using the Defense Production Act, can compel businesses to provide key information, such as when they’re training new AI models and the cybersecurity measures in place. This is aimed at monitoring potential AI-related threats to national security, public health, and the economy. Red teaming exercises to reveal vulnerabilities in AI models will be part of this reporting.
AI Development and Computing Clusters
Companies that acquire, develop, or possess large-scale computing clusters essential for training powerful AI systems will also need to report their activities to the government. This will help the government understand which entities, including those from other nations, have strong AI capabilities.
AI and National Security
The executive order directs the Department of Energy to assess how AI outputs can contribute to biological or chemical attacks and cyberattacks on critical infrastructure. The UK government had recently noted the possibility of advanced AI enabling such attacks in a report.
AI Talent and Immigration
To strengthen the US government’s AI capabilities, the executive order establishes a job portal hosted at AI.gov to attract experts and researchers familiar with AI. Additionally, a training program will be initiated with the goal of producing 500 AI researchers by 2025. Changes to immigration policy are proposed to make it easier for AI talent to come to the US, ensuring the nation remains competitive globally.
AI Procurement and Responsible AI
The executive order acknowledges that AI projects can have adverse effects, such as discrimination, in areas like housing and healthcare. It calls for guides and tools to assist government employees in making informed decisions when purchasing AI services from private companies. These rules are expected to have a significant impact, particularly in federal procurement.
Challenges in State and Local Law Enforcement
While this executive order primarily focuses on federal agencies, it may not address AI deployments in state and local law enforcement, where AI technology has led to false arrests and other issues. To enforce compliance with the standards outlined in the order, federal lawmakers may need to make it a funding condition for state and local law enforcement agencies.
This executive order is President Biden’s first dedicated to artificial intelligence, and it follows two similar orders by former President Trump in 2019 and 2020. Government agencies’ compliance with these orders has been inconsistent. If the new order achieves its intended goals, it will significantly expand the government’s AI capacity.
President Biden’s executive order on AI aims to boost the use of AI in the US government while increasing oversight on commercial AI applications. It includes reporting requirements for companies, measures to strengthen AI talent, and a focus on national security. The order also addresses immigration policy changes to attract AI experts to the US and encourages responsible AI procurement. However, it may not fully address AI challenges in state and local law enforcement. The success of this ambitious order will expand the government’s AI capacity.