Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action on Artificial Intelligence Concerns
The Biden-Harris Administration has recently issued an Executive Order (EO) to address concerns surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI). With the rapid proliferation of AI in various sectors, there has been growing apprehension about its potential impact on personal privacy, national security, and the accuracy of content. However, AI also holds great potential for improving online services, informational delivery, and online commerce. The Executive Order aims to strike a balance between the risks and benefits of AI.
The use of generative AI, a branch of AI that can create synthetic content, has raised concerns about confusion, discrimination, reputational harm, and the dissemination of false narratives. For instance, generative AI can be used to create maliciously constructed videos and images that depict public figures in harmful and entirely fabricated ways. Such misuse of generative AI has the potential to contribute to social mistrust and upheaval.
The Executive Order focuses on addressing AI’s impacts on national security, data privacy, consumers, employees, and American intellectual property (IP). The Department of Commerce is designated as the lead agency for coordinating interdepartmental collaboration on AI policies, guidelines, and regulations, given its current role in developing and implementing federal privacy policies and practices. Other government agencies will also play a part in addressing AI in ways that align with their respective missions.
This Executive Order builds upon the Administration’s previous Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights (BoR) published in 2022. While the BoR and the EO outline the Administration’s priorities, the exact scope of regulations, their implementation, and potential legal challenges remain uncertain. The Executive Order recognizes the importance of controlling AI to protect Americans’ civil rights while enhancing security. To strike a balance, special attention needs to be paid to areas such as crime forecasting, where AI analytics may present challenges in finding the right balance between interests.
The concerns associated with uncontrolled use of AI overlap with those that prompted the development of personal data privacy laws. Currently, privacy laws in the United States consist of federal laws enacted in the past few decades that were designed to address privacy within specific industry sectors. However, the absence of comprehensive national privacy legislation has resulted in a patchwork of varying and conflicting state laws, making compliance challenging for businesses. States like California have enacted their own privacy laws, further complicating the landscape.
The absence of comprehensive privacy legislation at the national level has also affected cross-border data transfer rules with the European Union, which places importance on countries that have reciprocal comprehensive standards and laws for privacy protection. Given the accelerated pace of AI growth and its impact on the economy, federal oversight is crucial. The hope is that the federal government’s leadership in developing practical and reasonable standards and regulations for AI will be more successful than seen in the realm of privacy. The Executive Order may serve as an initial push to Congress to bring forth legislation on AI, rather than just holding hearings.
In conclusion, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken action to address concerns surrounding AI through an Executive Order. By assessing the risks and benefits, the Administration aims to strike a balance that safeguards citizen data, protects national security, and promotes American intellectual property. The path ahead involves collaboration among various government agencies and the development of practical regulations that will shape the future of AI in the United States.