- On May 23, the White House revealed three new steps advancing the research, development and deployment of AI technology nationwide.
- The Biden Administration has updated the National Artificial Intelligence R&D Plan for the first time since 2019 with a new emphasis on international collaboration and reaffirming the need to address the ethical implications and safety of AI.
- The Office of Science and Technology Policy is seeking public input to develop a comprehensive National AI Strategy that would promote fairness and transparency in AI while maximizing AI benefits. Responses are due July 7.
One of the most advanced technologies of our time is the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI), a field that currently operates with minimal regulation. U.S. government officials, however, are stepping up their interest in generative AI technology, including assessing the opportunities while cautioning about potential risks. Government agencies are also beginning to seek public comment on these issues, where we expect to see increased activity in the coming months.
For example, on May 23, the White House announced that it would be taking additional steps to enhance AI research, development and deployment in the United States, building on its May 4 announcement advancing the AI Bill of Rights.
The recent announcement outlined three key steps the government is pursuing to promote AI: publishing an updated National Artificial Intelligence R&D Strategic Plan, soliciting public feedback on advancing AI research, and releasing a Department of Education report on the benefits and risks of AI in education. This alert focuses on the first two announcements.
The National AI R&D Roadmap
In the White House announcement, the Office of Science Technology and Policy (OSTP) released its update to the National AI R&D Strategic Plan. The driving force of this plan is to balance innovation with safety—to “manage the risks” of AI so that it may “seize the opportunities.” The 2023 document includes eight strategies from the 2019 plan and adds a ninth focus on international collaboration. The plan was updated in accordance with feedback from over 60 individuals and organizations representing research and civil society invested in responsible AI development. The majority of these responses emphasized the need for the national plan to address the ethical, legal and societal implications of AI (such as AI’s potential impact on civil rights) and the need to address the safety and security of AI systems.
The strategies outlined in the roadmap are:
- Make long term investments in fundamental and responsible AI search.
- Develop effective methods for human-AI collaboration.
- Understand and address the ethical, legal and societal implications of AI.
- Ensure the safety and security of AI systems.
- Develop shared public datasets and environments for AI training and testing.
- Measure and evaluate AI systems through standards and benchmarks.
- Better understand the national AI R&D workforce needs.
- Expand public-private partnerships to accelerate AI.
- Establish a principled and coordinated approach to international collaboration in AI research.
The FY24 Budget Request dedicated portions of the President’s budget specifically to AI development and deployment. The OSTP is calling on the agencies who were allocated AI funding to prioritize R&D to make AI trustworthy, equitable and both rights- and privacy-preserving while carrying out their missions.
Request for Information—Opportunities for Industry to Provide Feedback
The May 23 announcement advertised a new opportunity for public comments on a Request for Information (RFI) from the Office of Science and Technology Policy that will help chart the course of the National AI Strategy. The National AI Strategy will provide a “whole-of-society approach to AI.” The comments requested will provide information on the current uses of AI as well as project future uses of AI to empower the United States to be as responsive as possible to the latest opportunities and challenges posed by the evolving technology.
The RFI is designed to capture the range of risks and benefits in AI programs for the ultimate product of an effective National AI Strategy. The questions span various issues, from protecting rights, safety and national security, to advancing equity, bolstering democracy, promoting economic growth and innovating public services. For example, the OSTP is looking to how AI can be regulated to ensure that systems are designed and developed with safety in mind as well as how spurring AI development could help address equity or maximize national security. In order for the Office to have a complete picture of the uses of AI, the OSTP highlighted that they will review the results not only of this RFI, but of the ongoing opportunities for public engagement across the federal government, generating information about AI deployment nationwide.
Industry has significant opportunities to weigh in on AI regulation by submitting comments to the executive branch offices. This latest RFI is one in a series of agency announcements requesting feedback or guidance from AI stakeholders. Other announcements include:
- The Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is requesting comments on how to create accountable AI systems—through audits, assessments or perhaps even certification programs. Comments are due June 12, 2023.
- The OSTP has a concurrent RFI on Automated Worker Surveillance reviewing how employers are using automated systems to monitor, manage and evaluate their workers. Comments are due June 15, 2023.
- The Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing comments on a proposed rule that would address health data privacy and risk management and enhance the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Health IT Certification Program. Comments are due June 20, 2023.
- The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking comments on a white paper draft setting the terminology of AI threats and attacks for future standards and guidance. NIST is specifically asking stakeholders to provide input on attacks threatening the AI landscape, mitigations to risk that will withstand the test of time and asking for any updates on AI technology trends or terminology. Comments are due September 30, 2023.
- The Office of Management and Budget will be releasing draft policy guidance on the use of AI systems by the federal government sometime this summer. The department will be requesting feedback on how to best leverage AI while safeguarding the people’s rights and safety.