President Biden Issues Executive Order addressing AI privacy, safety, and trust

US President Joe Biden
(Image credit: Getty Images)

What you need to know

  • President Biden recently issued a comprehensive Executive Order highlighting the government's concerns over AI technology in regard to its safety and security.
  • The order states that developers of powerful AI tools like ChatGPT and Bing Chat will now be required to provide safety test results and other critical information to ascertain AI safety.
  • It also features safeguards and guardrails that will ensure the technology is used effectively and efficiently by the government. 

While generative AI is impressive and has the capability to create a bridge to untapped opportunities, a large number of people have raised concerns over the safety measures and guardrails in place to ensure that the technology doesn't spiral out of control.

Consequently, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, recently issued an Executive Order to establish new standards for AI's safety and security. The broad order affirms the US government's stance on AI, including preserving and maintaining the user's privacy. 

Elaborate measures to ascertain AI safety 

ChatGPT privacy settings

(Image credit: Future)

It's evident that AI capabilities are ever-evolving, which is why Biden's administration finds it extremely important to ensure that users' security while leveraging the technology isn't compromised.

Right off the bat, developers of the most powerful and sophisticated AI platforms like ChatGPT and Bing Chat will now have to furnish the US government with safety test results and other critical information. This will help guarantee that they aren't collecting private information from unsuspecting users and using the data without their consent. 

Next, the government will require developers to run vigorous tests on AI-powered platforms before they are shipped to broad availability. The goal behind this is to ensure that the tools meet the set standard and are safe.

The Executive Order also mandates the establishment of an advanced cybersecurity program that's designed to come up with AI tools and platforms that can be used to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in critical software.

What measures are in place to protect the Americans' privacy?

Windows Central | Kevin Okemwa

(Image credit: Future)

As highlighted above, safety and guardrails are among the top concerns among users in regard to AI technology. Until now, the measures put in place to help govern and establish control over the technology are almost negligible. 

Per the Executive Order, the government is leaning towards prioritizing federal support to accelerate the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques in "cutting-edge" technology. This asserts privacy since the technology is trained using data while maintaining the user's privacy. 

The order also indicated that a closer eye will be placed on how agencies collect and use commercial information, specifically personally identifiable data. What's more, the government highlighted the need to develop guidelines that will help federal agencies evaluate the effectiveness of privacy-preserving techniques. 

Will the Executive Order promote innovation and competition in AI?

Bing AI image of a robot stopping a person from using the computer

(Image credit: Windows Central)

AI is proving to be a profitable venture for the US, and the Executive Order seeks to build further upon this premise. The government aims to leverage this avenue via a  pilot of the National AI Research Resource, designed to enhance AI research across the US. 

To ensure that everyone gets a piece of the AI cake (even small developers), the government will provide technical assistance coupled with resources to ensure that everyone is well-equipped to make more advances in the field.

The Executive Order also states that the government will:

"Use existing authorities to expand the ability of highly skilled immigrants and nonimmigrants with expertise in critical areas to study, stay, and work in the United States by modernizing and streamlining visa criteria, interviews, and reviews."

How will the order affect the Government's use of AI?

The government realizes the power generative AI holds, including its capability to help regulate, govern, disburse benefits, and even cut costs and expenses. But at the same time, it also understands the potential danger it might present in the event that it is misused. 

To that effect, the Executive Order highlights several actions that will be explored to ensure the effective use of AI technology by government agencies, as highlighted below:

  • Issue guidance for agencies’ use of AI.
  • Help agencies acquire specified AI products and services faster, more cheaply, and more effectively through more rapid and efficient contracting.
  • Accelerate the rapid hiring of AI professionals.

While we've only hit some of the highlights in the Executive Order, the Biden-Harris Administration touched on quite a number of issues, including advances in Equity and Civil Rights and more. 

How do you think the Executive Order will impact companies at the forefront of AI technology, like Microsoft and OpenAI? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments. 

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.