U.S. President Joe Biden has issued a groundbreaking Executive Order to set the stage for the country to take a leadership role in both harnessing the promise and managing the risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI). This landmark order encompasses a wide range of directives aimed at ensuring safe, secure, and trustworthy AI applications, paving the way for the advancement of innovation while safeguarding the rights, privacy, and security of American citizens.

The order presents a comprehensive strategy that encompasses various critical aspects such as AI safety and security, protection of privacy, advancement of equity and civil rights, upholding consumer and worker interests, promoting innovation and competition, strengthening American leadership globally, and more. These directives are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s proactive approach to responsible innovation, building upon previous efforts that led to voluntary commitments from 15 leading companies to drive the safe and secure development of AI.

Notable directives include the requirement for developers of powerful AI systems to share their safety test results with the U.S. government. Moreover, the order stipulates the development of rigorous standards, tools, and tests to ensure that AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy before their public release. The directive involves institutions such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Departments of Homeland Security and Energy, marking a significant leap in advancing the field of AI safety.

Recognising the threat to privacy posed by AI, especially in extracting and exploiting personal data, the President urges Congress to pass bipartisan data privacy legislation. The order emphasises federal support for accelerating the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques, funding a Research Coordination Network, and assessing how agencies collect commercially available information containing personally identifiable data. The order also addresses the potential for AI to exacerbate discrimination and bias in various sectors, stressing the need for clear guidance and best practices to mitigate these issues.

The directives focus on safeguarding consumers from AI-enabled fraud and deception, particularly concerning AI-generated content, while also championing the use of AI in healthcare, education, and other vital sectors. Further, the order emphasises supporting workers through principles and best practices to mitigate the risks and maximise the benefits of AI, preventing job displacement and safeguarding workers’ rights and safety.

Recognising the global nature of AI’s challenges and opportunities, the Executive Order outlines a robust plan for bilateral, multilateral, and multistakeholder engagements to foster the safe, secure, and trustworthy deployment and use of AI worldwide. Efforts will focus on accelerating the development of essential AI standards, advancing rights-affirming development of AI abroad, and facilitating international collaboration in addressing AI challenges.

The order holds broad implications for various federal agencies and the technology industry, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive AI regulation. Moreover, the Executive Order’s emphasis on international cooperation reflects the interconnected nature of AI’s challenges and the administration’s commitment to working with global partners in navigating this evolving landscape.