Biden signs landmark executive order to manage AI risks

US President Joe Biden . /IANS

Washington, Oct 30 (IANS) US President Joe Biden on Monday signed a key executive order to manage the risks of artificial intelligence (AI) and make America a global AI leader.

The order establishes new standards for AI safety and security, protects users’ privacy, advances equity and civil rights, stands up for consumers and workers, promotes innovation and competition, advances American leadership around the world, and more.

The US administration will work with allies and partners abroad, including India, on a strong international framework to govern the development and use of AI.

The order requires that developers of the most powerful AI systems share their safety test results and other critical information with the US government.

“In accordance with the Defense Production Act, the Order will require that companies developing any foundation model that poses a serious risk to national security, national economic security, or national public health and safety must notify the federal government when training the model, and must share the results of all red-team safety tests,” read the order.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology will set the rigorous standards for extensive red-team testing to ensure safety before public release. The Department of Homeland Security will apply those standards to critical infrastructure sectors and establish the AI Safety and Security Board.

The Departments of Energy and Homeland Security will also address AI systems’ threats to critical infrastructure, as well as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity risks.

“Together, these are the most significant actions ever taken by any government to advance the field of AI safety,” said Biden.

The order also aims to protect against the risks of using AI to engineer dangerous biological materials by developing strong new standards for biological synthesis screening.

“Agencies that fund life-science projects will establish these standards as a condition of federal funding, creating powerful incentives to ensure appropriate screening and manage risks potentially made worse by AI,” the US president said.

The executive order also aims to protect Americans from AI-enabled fraud and deception by establishing standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content.

The Department of Commerce will develop guidance for content authentication and watermarking to clearly label AI-generated content. “Federal agencies will use these tools to make it easy for Americans to know that the communications they receive from their government are authentic,” said the order.

“AI not only makes it easier to extract, identify, and exploit personal data, but it also heightens incentives to do so because companies use data to train AI systems,” it added.

Irresponsible uses of AI can lead to and deepen discrimination, bias, and other abuses in justice, healthcare, and housing. The Biden-Kamala Harris Administration has already taken action by publishing the blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and issuing an Executive Order directing agencies to combat algorithmic discrimination, while enforcing existing authorities to protect people’s rights and safety.

Meanwhile, over 100 world leaders, tech honchos, academics and researchers are set to gather this week in the UK to deliberate upon the risks associated with AI and how to tackle those under the leadership of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

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