Three months ago, President Biden signed a historic Executive Order (E.O.) aimed at establishing America as a global leader in artificial intelligence.
Today, we see the real results of this mandate as Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed convenes the White House AI Council, which includes senior officials from numerous federal departments and agencies.
The Council reports that the 90-day activities stipulated by the E.O. were completed successfully and that work is being made on additional critical directives.
Managing Risks to Safety and Security
The E.O. addressed the serious dangers to safety and security posed by AI, urging immediate action within 90 days. Federal agencies responded proactively:
- Disclosure Requirements: Developers of powerful AI systems now face key disclosure requirements. Leveraging Defense Production Act authorities, the Department of Commerce compels these developers to report vital information, particularly AI safety test results. This ensures transparency and accountability in the development of advanced AI.
- Foreign AI Training Oversight: A proposed draft rule aims to make U.S. cloud companies providing computing power for foreign AI training accountable. The Department of Commerce’s proposal, if finalized, would mandate these companies to report instances where foreign clients train powerful AI models. This measure strengthens oversight to prevent potential misuse.
- Critical Infrastructure Risk Assessments: Agencies, including the Department of Defense, Transportation, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, have completed risk assessments covering AI’s impact on critical infrastructure sectors. This groundwork ensures that the integration of AI into vital aspects of society, such as the electric grid, is done safely and effectively.
Innovating AI for Good
President Biden’s executive order aims not simply to avoid risks but also to realize AI’s great potential. Here are the strides made during the last 90 days.
- National AI Research Resource Pilot: A groundbreaking initiative, managed by the U.S. National Science Foundation, launched a pilot for the National AI Research Resource. This program fosters innovation and competition by providing researchers and students with computing power, data, software, and access to AI models. A collaborative effort involving federal agencies and private sector partners ensures equitable access.
- AI Talent Surge: To bolster the federal government’s AI capabilities, a large-scale hiring action for AI professionals has been initiated. The AI and Tech Talent Task Force, established by the E.O., is leading this effort, with flexible hiring authorities granted to federal agencies. Tech talent programs like the Presidential Innovation Fellows, U.S. Digital Corps, and U.S. Digital Service are actively recruiting for high-priority AI projects.
- EducateAI Initiative: Recognizing the importance of education, the EducateAI initiative was launched to fund educators creating inclusive AI educational opportunities. This aligns with the E.O.’s emphasis on prioritizing AI-related workforce development, ensuring that students at all levels have access to quality AI education.
- Regional Innovation Engines: The funding of new Regional Innovation Engines, with a focus on advancing AI, underscores the commitment to drive breakthroughs. For instance, the Piedmont Triad Regenerative Medicine Engine, supported by an initial investment of $15 million, aims to leverage AI within the regenerative medicine cluster to create transformative clinical therapies.
- AI in Healthcare: The establishment of an AI Task Force at the Department of Health and Human Services signifies a dedicated effort to advance AI in healthcare. The Task Force is developing policies for regulatory clarity and fostering AI innovation in healthcare. Notably, guiding principles for addressing racial biases in healthcare algorithms have already been published.
As we celebrate these accomplishments in the first 90 days, it’s clear that the President’s Executive Order has established a solid foundation for the responsible development and implementation of AI.
The coordinated actions of federal agencies demonstrate a commitment to both protecting the public from potential hazards and utilizing AI for the greater good. Ai.gov provides more extensive information.