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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Biden aims to cut AI risks in US with executive order

"To realise the promise of (artificial intelligence) and avoid the risk, we need to govern this technology," US President Joe Biden says.

US President Joe Biden is seeking to reduce the risks that artificial intelligence poses to consumers, workers, minority groups and national security with a new executive order.

It requires developers of AI systems that pose risks to US national security, the economy, public health or safety to share the results of safety tests with the US government, in line with the Defence Production Act, before they are released to the public.

The order, which Biden signed at the White House on Monday, also directs agencies to set standards for that testing and address related chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity risks.

"To realise the promise of AI and avoid the risk, we need to govern this technology," Biden said.

"In the wrong hands AI can make it easier for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in the software that makes our society run."

The move is the latest step by the administration to set parameters around AI as it makes rapid gains in capability and popularity in an environment of, so far, limited regulation.

The order prompted a mixed response from industry and trade groups.

The new order goes beyond voluntary commitments made earlier this year by AI companies such as OpenAI, Alphabet and Meta Platforms, which pledged to watermark AI-generated content to make the technology safer.

As part of the order, the Commerce Department will "develop guidance for content authentication and watermarking" for labelling items that are generated by AI, to make sure government communications are clear, the White House said in a release.

The order also set out requirements for intellectual property regulators and federal law enforcement agencies to address the use of copyrighted works in AI training, including a call to "evaluate AI systems for IP law violations".

Prominent writers and visual artists have filed multiple lawsuits accusing tech companies of theft for using their works to train generative AI systems. Tech companies argue their use of the content is protected by US copyright law's fair-use doctrine.

The Group of Seven industrial countries on Monday will agree a code of conduct for companies developing advanced artificial intelligence systems, according to a G7 document.

US officials have warned that AI can heighten the risk of bias and civil rights violations, and Biden's executive order seeks to address that by calling for guidance to landlords, federal benefits programs and federal contractors "to keep AI algorithms from being used to exacerbate discrimination," the White House release said.

The order also calls for the development of "best practices" to address harms that AI may cause workers, including job displacement, and requires a report on labour market impacts.


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