President Biden said Friday that his White House would continue to put out executive actions aimed at regulating and guiding the use of artificial intelligence but also said those actions won’t end the need for Congress to pass AI legislation.
“These commitments are a promising step, but we have a lot more work to do together,” Biden said at the White House as he announced that seven AI development companies would work within a voluntary set of guidelines aimed at creating safe, secure and trustworthy AI systems.
“Realizing the promise of AI by managing the risks is going to require new laws, regulations and oversight,” Biden added. “In the weeks ahead, I’m going to continue to take executive action and help America lead the way to responsible innovation.”
“And we’re going to work with both parties to develop appropriate legislation and regulation,” he said.
Biden said he has already outlined the need for Congress to take steps to ensure the responsible use of AI, and he repeated his priorities from the White House.
“Congress needs to pass bipartisan legislation that imposes strict limits on personal data collection, ban targeted advertisements to kids, require companies to put health and safety first,” he said.
He thanked both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., for making AI regulation a priority, although Congress has yet to pass anything close to a sweeping bill imposing rules on the emerging sector.
Schumer has said he still wants senators to enter into listening sessions later this fall and create an AI bill after that, a sign the Senate effort could take until next year. The House side is also far away from a comprehensive bill on AI, although both chambers are tackling AI on the edges by including some rules and guidelines in the annual defense policy bill.
For example, the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act calls on the Pentagon to closely examine how vulnerable it is to foreign AI systems and also encourages the military to either study or begin incorporating AI into the U.S. defense posture.
The Senate is also taking up its version of the NDAA and is considering ideas such as a “bug bounty” program that would give defense officials an incentive to identify flaws in AI systems so they can be fixed. Some also want to include language aimed at enhancing the government’s knowledge of its current AI capabilities and providing Congress with a direction on where it’s headed in how it uses AI.
At the White House Friday, Biden stressed that the pace of technological change is about to accelerate because of AI.
“We’ll see more technology change in the next 10 years, or even in the next few years, than we’ve seen in the last 50 years,” he said.
Biden also stressed that the U.S. must be careful to ensure AI is regulated so that it can be deployed to ensure positive change. The guidelines set out by the White House Friday incorporate that idea.
“The companies commit to develop and deploy advanced AI systems to help address society’s greatest challenges,” the guidelines said. “From cancer prevention to mitigating climate change to so much in between, AI—if properly managed—can contribute enormously to the prosperity, equality, and security of all.”