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Summary of President Biden's Executive Order - A Move Toward Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy AI

Cybersecurity Assessments | Artificial Intelligence

President Biden has issued a groundbreaking Executive Order to steer America toward leadership in harnessing the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) while managing its associated risks.

This landmark order establishes new standards for AI safety and security, safeguards privacy, promotes equity and civil rights, bolsters consumer protection, drives innovation and competition, advances global leadership, and more. 

Building on previous initiatives, including voluntary commitments from 15 leading companies for safe AI development, the Executive Order outlines comprehensive strategies to ensure responsible AI innovation. 

8 Key Takeaways From Biden's AI Executive Order

1. New Standards for AI Safety and Security

As AI's capabilities expand, so do concerns regarding safety and security. To mitigate these risks, the Executive Order directs:

  • Mandatory sharing of safety test results and critical information with the U.S. government for developers of powerful AI systems. This ensures the safety and trustworthiness of AI systems before public release. 
  • Development of rigorous standards, tools, and tests by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, ensuring thorough red team testing for safety. 
  • Protection against AI-enabled risks in critical infrastructure and biological synthesis screening through strong standards. 
  • Measures to counter AI-enabled fraud and deception, including content authentication and watermarking. 
  • Advancement of AI tools to identify and rectify vulnerabilities in critical software. 

2. The Importance of the Protection of Americans' Privacy

The Executive Order acknowledges the need to safeguard Americans' privacy, especially in the age of AI. It calls on Congress to pass bipartisan data privacy legislation. Further actions include: 

  • Federal support for privacy-preserving techniques, including AI-driven methods that protect the privacy of training data. 
  • Funding for research and development of privacy-preserving technologies, such as cryptographic tools. 
  • Evaluation of how federal agencies collect and use commercially available data, focusing on personally identifiable information. 
  • Guidelines for federal agencies to assess the effectiveness of privacy-preserving techniques in AI systems. 

3. Opportunities for the Advancement of Equity and Civil Rights

The Executive Order underscores the importance of combating discrimination and bias in AI applications. Actions include: 

  • Guidance for landlords, federal benefits programs, and contractors to prevent AI algorithms from exacerbating discrimination. 
  • Collaboration between the Department of Justice and civil rights offices to investigate and prosecute civil rights violations related to AI. 
  • Development of best practices for AI use in criminal justice, ensuring fairness in sentencing, risk assessments, and predictive policing. 

4. Benefits for Consumers, Patients, and Students

Though it also poses risks, AI has the potential to benefit consumers, patients, and students, including: 

  • Advancing the responsible use of AI in healthcare and drug development. 
  • Support for AI-enabled educational tools for personalized tutoring. 
  • Measures to protect consumers from potential AI harm while ensuring AI-driven advancements are made accessible. 

5. Ongoing Support for Workers

To address AI's impact on jobs and workplaces, the Executive Order aims to: 

  • Develop principles and best practices to mitigate AI-related workplace risks, focusing on labor standards, equity, and worker rights. 
  • Conduct a report on AI's potential labor-market impacts and workforce support strategies. 

6. Promotion of Innovation and Competition

The Executive Order seeks to bolster American leadership in AI innovation and competition through: 

  • Catalyzing AI research across the U.S. 
  • Supporting small developers and entrepreneurs in the AI ecosystem. 
  • Streamlining visa criteria to attract skilled AI professionals. 

7. Global AI Collaboration

Recognizing the global nature of AI challenges and opportunities, the Executive Order focuses on: 

  • Expanding international collaborations and frameworks for responsible AI use. 
  • Accelerating AI standards development with international partners. 
  • Promoting AI's role in addressing global challenges. 

8. Ensuring Responsible and Effective Government Use of AI

The Executive Order emphasizes responsible government AI deployment and modernization: 

  • Issuing guidance for AI use within federal agencies. 
  • Supporting privacy-preserving research. 
  • Evaluating AI’s impact on commercially available data. 
  • Developing guidelines for federal agencies to assess privacy-preserving techniques. 

Moving Forward with Artificial Intelligence

This is a strong first step as AI sets the stage for America to lead in responsible AI innovation, but more work lies ahead, with the Administration and the private sector to drive responsible AI development and deployment.

Of course, this new development also increases the urgency for companies to ensure they have the proper frameworks in place—like NIST’s AI RMF and the upcoming ISO 42001—to help create a world where AI can thrive responsibly.

About AVANI DESAI

Avani Desai is the CEO at Schellman. Avani has more than 15 years of experience in IT attestation, risk management, compliance and privacy. Avani’s primary focus is on emerging healthcare issues and privacy concerns for organizations. Named as one of the 2017 Global Leaders in Consulting by Consulting Magazine she has also been featured and published in the ISSA Journal, ITSP Magazine, ISACA Journal, Information Security Buzz, Healthcare Tech Outlook, and many more. Avani also sits on the board of Catalist, a not for profit that empowers women by supporting the creation, development and expansion of collective giving through informed grantmaking. In addition, she is co-chair of 100 Women Strong, a female only venture philanthropic fund to solve problems related to women and children in the community.