In late October, much to the surprise of many in the AI industry, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) containing sweeping regulations concerning the development of artificial intelligence. As explained below in the description of some of what the EO will regulate, numerous agencies will be involved in its enforcement. Although it is an Executive Order, Biden made it clear that he plans on working with Congress on bipartisan legislation to help with innovation in the field of AI while protecting the American public from its potential dangers. There are 8 sections in the 111-page order. They include:
1. New Standards for AI Safety and Security
This section is broad in its protections to ensure the safety and security of the American public. Many of these regulations will be overseen by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Companies will be required to ensure that measures are taken to guarantee that their AI systems, before being released, are safe, secure, and trustworthy with regards to the public, national security interests, cybersecurity, and public health issues. In addition, the Department of Commerce will require watermarking for authentication of AI-generated content. The government will set the standard so that private industry can use it as a model.
AI generated deepfakes were of particular concern to President Biden. Journalist Kathryn Watson noted, “The president specifically mentioned ‘deepfakes,’ fake videos that, mimicking a person’s voice, appear to show a person saying and doing something he or she never did. ‘I’ve watched one of me. I said, “When the hell did I say that?’ the president said, to laughs.”
2. Protecting Americans’ Privacy
Data is the primary focus of this section. AI systems rely heavily upon data to function. In this case, President Biden hopes that Congress will lead the charge in passing bipartisan legislation that protects Americans’ data privacy. He’s particularly concerned about data privacy rights of youth. The EO calls for enhancing “privacy-preserving research and technologies.” Funds will be allocated for a Research Coordination Network which will partner with The National Science Foundation to focus on privacy-preserving research and technologies.
3. Advancing Equity and Civil Rights
Most people are aware by now that AI can be riddled with biases when it comes to race and gender. These biases can lead to discriminatory practices in the justice, healthcare, and housing systems. The Biden-Harris Administration wants straightforward guidelines to help avoid discriminatory practices. This includes addressing discrimination written into the algorithms of AI systems.
4. Standing Up for Consumers, Patients, and Students
The Biden-Harris Administration sees enormous possibilities with AI in making critical, life-saving drugs and medical treatments available at affordable prices to Americans in need. This notion can also be applied to educational tools. The healthcare and education landscapes pose great opportunities for revolutionary change for the better when it comes to implementing AI systems ethically and mindfully, so the EO’s foresight is cutting edge. What must be avoided is how these systems could lead to harm and abuse in these two areas.
5. Supporting Workers
As I state often and clearly, AI systems should enhance the workforce and human talent. It should not lead to poor productivity, distrust in personnel, or massive layoffs. The Biden-Administration warns about the “dangers of increased workplace surveillance, bias, and job displacement.” Those are all valid concerns. Done right, AI systems, as Enterra® has shown, can augment and enhance the way work performance is done.
6. Promoting Innovation and Competition
The United States is already ahead of other countries when it comes to AI. The Biden-Harris Administration wants to continue to support AI startups that raise capital here in the U.S. To make that happen, there will be a pilot program through the National AI Research Resource for AI researchers and students involved in the areas of healthcare and climate change. The administration also seeks to encourage immigrants and nonimmigrants the chance to research, reside, and work in the U.S. while exploring AI systems. Speeding up and streamlining the visa process will be a part of this process as well.
7. Advancing American Leadership Abroad
Given that America leads in AI innovation, the Biden-Harris Administration wants to ensure that the United States will serve as a model for other nations when it comes to the development of “safe, secure, and trustworthy deployment and use of AI worldwide.” Thus, seeking collaborative work via The State Department is critical, meaning the U.S. will assist in defining the parameters around AI’s beneficial elements as well as its drawbacks. In addition, this means there also needs to be the establishment of international standards.
8. Ensuring Responsible and Effective Government Use of AI
Under the EO, AI will be implemented to enhance government capabilities and cut down on unnecessary costs. The Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Digital Service, and the U.S. Digital Corps, among others, will seek out AI professionals to improve existing AI products and future services. Guidelines to protect against biases as well as security concerns will also be put into place.
While many people hold deep concerns about government interference, it appears that these regulations are based upon reasonable assessments of the dangers posed by AI systems. Since this EO is all encompassing, it will be worth watching how agencies begin to apply guidelines in the coming months. Time will tell if the government’s involvement in AI development becomes too heavy handed and if it winds up hurting smaller companies and startups.
 Executive Order of the President of the United States of America, “Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence,” The White House, 30 October 2023.
 Kathryn Watson, “What Biden’s Executive Order On AI Does and Means,” CBS News, 30 October 2023.