On May 23, 2023, the White House released a series of new efforts that the administration plans to take in response to the rising use of artificial intelligence (AI). AI has recently come to the forefront of policymakers’ minds in Washington with a plethora of hearings on the subject and regular demands from lawmakers for policy to regulate the creation and use of the technology. President Biden’s announcement aims to start gathering information on how the U.S. government can best oversee and harness the production of AI to further American prosperity.
To further this goal, the White House announced an update on the roadmap to federal funding for AI research and development (R&D), a request for public input on critical AI issues and the release of a new report on the use of AI in education. During this process, stakeholders in the AI space should look to engage the administration to ensure their interests are considered before the executive branch starts drafting policy proposals.
Update AI R&D Roadmap
As the first prong of this announcement, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is releasing an update to their National AI R&D Plan. The purpose of the report is to direct the development of AI and help rein in risks the government doesn’t think the private sector will be able to manage on its own. It aims to ensure that R&D projects do not endanger the public good, individuals’ rights and safety, or the nation’s democratic values by monitoring AIs that target vulnerable societal issues. To achieve this goal, the plan outlines nine strategies to build trust in AI systems and prepare the U.S. workforce for integration. The first eight are carried over from previous administration plans in 2016 and 2019 with the final strategy, relating to international collaboration on AI projects, being implemented in this report.
- Make long-term investments in fundamental and responsible AI research. Prioritize investments in AI that are responsive to the common good but maintain American leadership in the field. Specifically, this area focuses on AIs that can learn and produce content, while managing the risks of these generative AIs.
- Develop effective methods for human-AI collaboration. Increase understanding of how to create AI systems that can work alongside humans, while limiting possible human misuse of the technology.
- Understand and address the ethical, legal and societal implications of AI. Conduct research into AI explainability and privacy preservation to ensure accountable, fair and unbiased systems that manage the risks of AI.
- Ensure the safety and security of AI systems. Advance knowledge of how to design AI systems that are trustworthy, reliable and dependable by ensuring that we can test, validate and verify the functionality and accuracy of AI systems, and secure AI systems from cybersecurity and data vulnerabilities.
- Develop shared public datasets and environments for AI training and testing. Build and enable the use of high-quality datasets to increase innovation in AI products.
- Measure and evaluate AI systems through standards and benchmarks. Develop a broad spectrum of evaluative techniques for AI, informed by the administration’s Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and AI Risk Management Framework.
- Better understand the national AI R&D workforce needs. Improve opportunities for R&D in workforce development, by understanding the limits and possibilities of AI-related work, to strategically foster an AI-ready workforce in America. This includes developing an understanding of the education and fluency requirements to interact with AI systems.
- Expand public-private partnerships to accelerate advances in AI. Promote opportunities for sustained investment in responsible AI R&D and for transitioning advances into practical capabilities, in collaboration with academia, industry, international partners and other non-federal entities.
- Establish a principled and coordinated approach to international collaboration in AI research. Prioritize international collaborations in AI R&D to address global challenges, such as environmental sustainability, health care and manufacturing. Strategic international partnerships will be used to develop international guidelines for AI.
By following these strategies, the White House hopes to accelerate AI advancements and fund the technology’s evolution and implementation without sacrificing safety or security in its use across all sectors of the economy.
RFI on AI Issues
OSTP is also rolling out a request for information (RFI) on a path to harnessing the benefits and reducing the risks of AI. In this request, the agency is looking to update American priorities with the help of those involved in AI creation and use.
In the RFI, the administration declares it is searching for methods to improve the tools the government can provide to leverage AI. The White House is hoping to gather information on how recent advancements in AI technology should be approached to provide whole-of-society benefits while avoiding the risks associated with these systems. The RFI will seek information on how AI can protect rights, safety and national security; advance equality and strengthen civil rights; bolster democracy and civic participation; promote good economic growth and good jobs; and innovate public services. OSTP will also accept comments on other AI issues stakeholders do not think are properly covered above. The deadline for submission is July 7, 2023.
OSTP will combine comments from this RFI with the ongoing requests below. If an organization already submitted for one of these opportunities, they would not need to resubmit here.
Report on AI in Education
The Department of Education’s (DoEd) Office of Educational Technology released a report regarding AI’s use in teaching and learning. The document details how AI can facilitate interaction between teachers and students, improve educational outcomes and support educators and their pupils in new ways. It explores how AI systems may be used by educational institutions in formative assessment. The report also outlines the risks associated with these technologies, especially in areas of bias and security of data and could provide a basis on how education institutions deal with disruptive AI like Chat GPT.
DoEd is hoping this release will help lessen educators’ fears that AI will be used as a replacement for teachers. It also wants to get ahead of the potential consequences of AI use in educational settings to make sure no students are left behind. On a positive note, DoEd is hoping reports such as this can help schools achieve their educational goals in new ways, at a larger scale and with lower costs with the help of AI technologies.
The report urges policies to address the following areas to achieve the above goals:
- Leverage automation to advance learning outcomes while protecting human decision making and judgment;
- Interrogate the underlying data quality in AI models to ensure fair and unbiased pattern recognition and decision-making in educational applications, based on accurate information appropriate to the pedagogical situation;
- Enable examination of how particular AI technologies, as part of larger education technology or educational systems, may increase or undermine equity for students; and
- Take steps to safeguard and advance equity, including providing for human checks and balances and limiting any AI systems and tools that undermine equity.
The Biden administration laid out these moves as members of Congress have continued to try to find common ground on legislation regarding AI development. Legislators have started the process of drafting bills that address AI technology. While this process is starting in Congress, European regulators are considering strong data and privacy protections and are likely to move forward on new AI rules in the coming weeks.
Members of Congress already recognize the challenge of crafting a bill on this topic, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stating, “It’s a very difficult issue, AI, because a) it’s moving so quickly and b) because it’s so vast and changing so quickly.” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), an outspoken member on technology-related issues, also admitted that the subject is complicated and he has “got to get educated” in his efforts to regulate the technology.
Still, lawmakers sound determined to continue to hold hearings and introduce legislation on the issue. As evidenced by a series Senators-only briefings to discuss the future of AI, how America can maintain its leadership in the space and where the nation’s adversaries are with their programs, the Senate still views this as an issue of importance. Similarly, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, is quoted as saying he wants to hold at least one hearing on AI during each work period, and he also wants to continue to add onto the four AI-related bills he wrote in the previous Congress. Progress on the House side is also in the works with Ted Lieu (D-CA), who introduced a resolution written by AI earlier this year, warning, “you have all sorts of harms in the future we don’t know about, and so I think Congress should step up and look at ways to regulate.”
This announcement from the White House represents the next step in policymaking by the administration regarding AI. Following the October rollout of the AI Bill of Rights, this move shows that the Biden administration will continue to focus on the development and use of AI technologies, especially as Congress is paying more attention as well. Any stakeholders looking to develop or adopt AI should pay close attention to these legislative efforts and consider responding to RFIs such as those publicized in this fact sheet. If you have any questions about how Brownstein can aid your AI government relations strategy, please contact the authors of this alert.
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