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Summary of AI EO Purpose and Intent – December 18

On October 30, 2023, the Biden Administration issued its “Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.”

Deep Water Point & Associates (DWPA) has substantial experience with laws, regulations, guidance, programs, and requirements central to the Order. We’re analyzing the EO to understand whether and how it might affect our AI and generative AI use, and our clients. Federal contractors and SaaS or PaaS cloud service providers not well-versed in Department of Commerce Export Administration Regulations (EAR) might start investigating. This article summarizes the Order’s purpose and content.

This EO builds on recently published AI strategic documents and frameworks by Federal agencies and institutes. It points out that much of what’s already done for software development and data laws also applies to AI. With 186 shall statements and 98 deadlines, the EO establishes clear direction and cadence for next steps needed by the Federal government. It addresses AI and generative AI, and clearly describes when export control law and regulation apply.

The Order’s 13 sections are summarized below. Sections 4 – 11 constitute the Order’s “eight guiding principles and priorities.”

Sec. 1. Purpose emphasizes the significance of responsible AI use, highlighting its potential to address critical challenges and improve various aspects of society, while also acknowledging the risks associated with irresponsible use. It underscores the need for collaboration between government, the private sector, academia, and society to harness AI for good while mitigating its risks.

Sec. 2. Policy and Principles states that it is the policy of the Biden Administration to advance and govern the development and use of AI in accordance with eight guiding principles and priorities. This Section separately describes the eight guiding principles and priorities, which are Sections 4 – 11.

Sec. 3. Definitions defines 32 terms. Noteworthy among them is the term dual-use foundation model, which is used 16 times and is central to developer, user, and agency requirements and prohibitions.

Sec. 4. Ensuring the Safety and Security of AI Technology is the largest of the Order containing more than a quarter of the entire Order, one-quarter of its deadlines, and almost one-third of its shall statements. This section details guidance and direction pertaining to safe and reliable use, almost two dozen infrastructure as a service requirements, cybersecurity, biosecurity, and other types of uses and risks. Section 4 contains one of two uses of the term red-teaming pertaining to generative AI. Section 10 contains the other.

Sec. 5. Promoting Innovation and Competition outlines measures to attract and retain AI talent to the US, promote innovation through public-private partnerships, provides guidance to patent examiners, and identifies measures to support AI in healthcare, for Veterans, in climate change, scientific research, and other domains.

Sec. 6. Supporting Workers emphasizes the government’s commitment to understanding and addressing AI impacts on the workforce. It directs the development of reports analyzing labor market effects and workforce disruption mitigation principles and best practices, and education and workforce development.

Sec. 7. Advancing Equity and Civil Rights outlines the government’s efforts to address discrimination, promote equity, and protect civil rights in various aspects of AI deployment, including the criminal justice system, government benefits and programs, and the broader economy.

Sec. 8. Protecting Consumers, Patients, Passengers, and Students highlights the government’s efforts to ensure the responsible and ethical use of AI in healthcare, education, transportation, and communications, while protecting consumers and addressing potential fraud, discrimination, and privacy risks.

Sec. 9. Protecting Privacy emphasizes the government’s efforts to address and mitigate privacy risks associated with AI, promote the use of privacy-enhancing technologies (PET), and support PET guidelines, research, and development.

Sec. 10. Advancing Federal Government Use of AI is the second largest section of the Order. It highlights steps and guidelines to advance the Federal government’s use of AI and enhance its AI talent and management. It forms an interagency council to coordinate the development and use of AI in agency programs and operations, other than the use of AI in national security systems. Section 10 contains all the Order’s only references to the Technology Modernization Fund. It also contains one of two uses of the term red-teaming pertaining to generative AI. Section 4 contains the other.

Sec. 11. Strengthening American Leadership Abroad underscores the importance of the United States in global AI leadership, setting standards, promoting responsible AI development and deployment abroad, and addressing cross-border AI risks, particularly in critical infrastructure.

Sec. 12. Implementation establishes the White House AI Council which will coordinate AI-related activities and policies across the Federal government. It identifies the Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy to serve as the Councils’ Chair. It identifies 28 agencies’ secretaries, directors, and chairs as members, plus the heads of such other agencies, independent regulatory agencies, and executive offices as the Chair may designate or invite to participate.

Section 13. General Provisions ensures that this EO is not read as impairing authorities granted by law, or as establishing existing authorities or government functions.  

To learn more contact Lou.Kerestesy@DWPAssociates.com.