January 24, 2024

Podcast - The Biden Administration's Push for Transparency in AI Technology

Clearly Conspicuous Podcast Series

In this episode of his "Clearly Conspicuous" podcast series, "The Biden Administration's Push for Transparency in AI Technology," consumer protection attorney Anthony DiResta discusses the efforts of the Biden Administration to promote the transparent and secure development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology as well as initiatives that minimize AI-related harms. Mr. DiResta examines the White House's three principles that it deems fundamental to the future of AI: safety, security and trust. He explains that while the White House initiative lacks any enforcement mechanism, it can still take action to inform consumer protection agencies of appropriate regulatory structures around AI.

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Welcome to another podcast of Clearly Conspicuous. As we've noted in previous sessions, our goal in these podcasts is to make you succeed in this very aggressive environment, make you aware of what's going on with the consumer protection agencies and give you practical tips for success. It's a privilege to be with you today.

The Biden Administration's Efforts to Promote the Transparent and Secure Use of AI Technology

Today, we discuss the efforts of the Biden Administration to promote the transparent and secure development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. On July 21, 2023, the White House announced that seven technology companies at the forefront of generative AI agreed to voluntarily commit to "promote the safe, secure and transparent development use of AI technology." "We must be clear-eyed and diligent about the threats emerging technologies can pose," President Biden said when announcing the commitments, adding that the seven companies — Amazon, Anthropic, Google, InflectionAI, Meta, Microsoft and OpenAI — have a "fundamental obligation" to ensure their products are safe. The White House commitments build on prior administrative initiatives to promote responsible AI innovation, and likely herald further action by the executive branch to monitor and regulate the AI industry. White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients drew parallels to the government's failure to anticipate the downsides of social media, as President Biden had in his announcement, saying, "one of the lessons learned is that we got to move fast, we cannot chase this technology."

Specifically, the White House outlined three principles that must be "fundamental to the future of AI" and underlay the voluntary commitments:

  1. Companies have a duty to ensure their products are safe before introducing them for broad use, including by subjecting them to external testing.
  2. Companies have a duty to build systems that are secure from cyberattacks and insider threats.
  3. Companies have a "duty to do right by the public and earn the public's trust" by making it easy to identify AI-manipulated media, strengthening protections for privacy and children, and ensuring AI models do not promote discrimination.

This initiative is part of a larger effort by the Biden Administration to push for safe and responsible AI development that minimizes AI-related harms. These other efforts include the following:

  • An announcement in June 2023 of a new NIST Public Working Group on AI
  • A meeting in May of 2023 of Google, Anthropic, Microsoft and Open AI, coupled with initiative to promote responsible AI innovation
  • Then there's the administration's blueprint for an AI bill of rights to safeguard Americans' rights and save lives
  • Then there's an executive order, signed by the president in February of this year, to remove bias from the design of new technologies and protect the public from algorithm-enabled discrimination
  • Then there's an investment of $140 million to establish seven new national AI research institutes
  • Then there's a national AI R&D strategic plan to advance responsible AI
  • And finally, there's a draft policy guidance expected this summer from the Office of Management and Budget for federal departments and agencies to follow to ensure their development, procurement and use of the AI systems on safeguarding individual rights and safety

Concluding Thoughts

So here's a key takeaway. While the White House initiative lacked any enforcement mechanism, they nonetheless inform consumer protection agencies of appropriate regulatory structures around artificial intelligence. We can also expect further developments to follow. The White House openly advocates for legislation to provide it with greater regulatory powers because "realizing the promise and minimizing the risk of AI will require new laws, new rules, oversight and enforcement." Congress has also held a number of hearings in just the past few months on AI, touching on issues relating to AI and intellectual property, human rights, oversight and the principles for regulating AI. So please stay tuned for further programs as we identify and address the key issues and developments, and provide you with strategies for success. I wish you continued success and a meaningful day. Thank you.

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