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US Takes Strong Measures to Address AI Risks

The U.S. is taking extensive measures to address AI risks through a new executive order that mandates sharing safety test results, setting standards, and providing guidance to protect shareholders.

The US is moving to enact protections over AI risks.
Credit: Pixels Hunter/Shutterstock 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a recent move, U.S. President Joe Biden has unveiled a comprehensive executive order aimed at mitigating the risks associated with AI. This action seeks to strike a balance between fostering AI innovation and ensuring the safety and well-being of consumers, workers, and minority groups.


Protecting National Interests and Public Safety From AI Risks


This executive order goes beyond previous voluntary commitments by leading AI companies, such as OpenAI, Alphabet, and Meta Platforms. It mandates that developers of AI systems posing risks to U.S. national security, the economy, public health, or safety must share the results of safety tests with the U.S. government, in accordance with the Defense Production Act. Furthermore, it directs government agencies to establish standards for AI testing and address various related risks, including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity concerns.


The Commerce Department will play a key role in ensuring clarity in government communications. It will develop guidance for content authentication and watermarking of items generated by AI. White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed described the order as the "strongest set of actions" ever taken by any government to ensure AI security. It emphasizes not only privacy and safety but also addresses concerns like housing discrimination and job displacement.


Global Collaboration and Legislative Action


The Group of Seven (G7) industrial countries is set to adopt a code of conduct for companies developing advanced AI systems, marking a global effort to regulate this technology. While some have criticized the U.S. for lagging behind Europe in AI regulation, the administration asserts that this executive order carries the force of law, and they believe that legislative action from Congress is also needed to effectively govern AI.


President Biden is calling on Congress to pass legislation concerning data privacy, highlighting the importance of regulating AI at a legislative level. U.S. officials have expressed concerns about AI's potential to amplify bias and civil rights violations. To address these issues, the order includes guidance to prevent AI algorithms from exacerbating discrimination, and affecting landlords, federal benefits programs, and federal contractors.


Moreover, the order encourages the development of "best practices" to mitigate potential harms to workers, including job displacement, and mandates a report on the impacts of AI on the labor market.


The U.S. is not alone in its efforts to address AI risks; Vice President Kamala Harris is attending a global AI summit in Britain, where China is also expected to be represented. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has emphasized that governments must take the lead in addressing the risks of AI, highlighting the technology's potential for misuse and uncontrolled consequences.


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