On October 30, 2023, the White House issued an Executive Order to address the growing innovations—and attendant concerns—regarding artificial intelligence (“AI”). The Executive Order is the first federal attempt to broadly address AI, but it certainly won’t be the last.
The Executive Order targeted six goals for the development of standards, legislation, policies, guidance, and best practices: establishing new safety and security standards, protecting individual’s privacy, advancing civil rights and equity, ensuring protections for consumers and workers, promoting innovation and competition, and advancing America’s leadership worldwide on AI issues. Below, we summarize the efforts in support of each goal.
Safety and Security Standards
In recognition of the heightened risks presented by AI, the Executive Order promotes the increased safety, security, and trustworthiness in implementing AI. Most notable is a requirement that companies developing foundation models posing a serious risk to national security, national economic security, or national public health and safety must share with the U.S. Government critical information that arises during the development phase. This information includes the results of safety tests and certain notifications that result when training AI models. These mandatory notices must be made before those tools are made publicly available.
The Executive Order also calls for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop standards, tools, and tests ensuring the safety, security, and trustworthiness of AI. Moreover, the Executive Order calls for the development of guidance for content authentication (including watermarking) to clearly label AI-generated content. The Executive Order contemplates a robust cybersecurity program to work with AI tools by finding and fixing software vulnerabilities. Finally, the Executive Order contemplates formal guidance for the military and intelligence community’s safe, ethical, and effective use of AI.
Given the increased ability of AI to identify and exploit individuals’ private and personal data, the Executive Order calls on Congress to pass bipartisan data privacy legislation. The Executive Order prioritizes federal support for developing privacy-preserving techniques; for example, those that enable AI systems to be trained without compromising the privacy of the training data. It also calls for leading-edge privacy-preserving research and technology, and also implores agencies to contemplate how they use commercially available private data and create guidance to protect that data.
Civil Rights and Equity
To further combat algorithmic discrimination, bias, and miscarriages of justice resulting from the use of AI, the Executive Order directs the development of best practices on the use of AI in all phases of criminal investigations and prosecutions and clear guidance to landlords, benefits programs, and contractors to guard against discriminatory AI use in housing and healthcare.
Labor and Consumer Protection
The Executive Order addresses the potential for harms to patients, consumers, students, and workers by calling for the responsible use of AI in healthcare and drug development programs (including via the establishment of a safety program to facilitate reporting about harms to healthcare resulting from AI), and in educational tools (including personalized tutoring in schools and other efforts to support educators).
As to workers, the Executive Order calls for the development of principles and best practices to address job displacement, labor standards, workplace equity/health/safety, and data collection – including the creation of a report on AI’s impact on the labor market.
Innovation and Competition
To guard against antitrust concerns, the Executive Order seeks to promote innovation and competition amongst AI developers by creating the National AI Research Resource, a tool to standardize access to AI resources and data. Further, the Executive Order calls for small developers and entrepreneurs to have increased access to technical assistance and resources to help them leverage AI breakthroughs.
American Leadership and International Collaboration in AI Development
Finally, the Executive Order calls for the establishment of a robust international framework to harness the safe and secure deployment of AI and accelerate the development of AI standards. To promote the use of AI to help solve global challenges (for example, sustainable development), the Executive Order seeks to build on the relationships the Biden Administration has already made worldwide in connection with the development of AI.