Biden Signs Executive Order Regulating Artificial Intelligence

Concerns about privacy, jobs and safety have abounded in recent months as the capabilities of artificial intelligence have advanced and become more evident.

While some nations have already taken significant steps toward regulating this emerging form of technology, the United States has been late to the game. That might soon be changing, according to White House chief of staff Jeff Zients.

In a statement on Monday, he confirmed that President Joe Biden was prepared to sign an executive order meant to impose new restrictions and security standards for AI developers. Recalling what the president supposedly told him, Zients said: “We can’t move at a normal government pace. We have to move as fast, if not faster, than the technology itself.”

Among the specific guidelines included in the order are requirements that tech developers share pertinent information with the federal government and new guidance from the Department of Commerce that will include watermarks that will allow for easier distinction between human-created and AI-generated content.

The executive action is also expected to tackle issues related to privacy, consumer protections and civil rights.

Biden reportedly met with aides last week to put the finishing touches on the executive order, which individuals with knowledge of the situation say will include some security- and safety-related items that must be completed within 90 days of the executive order’s implementation. Other lower-stakes items will come with up to a one-year deadline.

The move came as Vice President Kamala Harris prepared for a trip to the United Kingdom to deliver a speech on the subject. Of course, her previous remarks related to AI have not stoked much confidence in her ability to discuss the matter with authority.

The president has expressed increasing concerns about the threats of AI in recent months. Deputy White House chief of staff Bruce Reed said the increased attention came after Biden saw some of the troubling evidence for himself.

“He was as impressed and alarmed as anyone,” Reed said. “He saw fake AI images of himself, of his dog. He saw how it can make bad poetry, and he’s seen and heard the incredible and terrifying technology of voice cloning, which can take three seconds of your voice and turn it into an entire fake conversation.”