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President Biden’s recent executive order initiates new AI policies

Last updated on Dec 18, 2023

By Alexa Garrett, Staff Writer

Have you ever thought about whether Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems listen in on our everyday conversations? Some things in our lives are no secret with the presence of devices all around us. The device “Alexa” by Amazon listens to our conversations all of the time. Of course it’s only passive listening, waiting to be queued by the one word “Alexa.” AI is only becoming more and more sophisticated though. With many recent concerns about the safety of some AI systems, President Biden has issued a new executive order, according to the White House, that will promote “safe, secure and trustworthy artificial intelligence.” 

Courtesy of Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Computer science professor Reda Nacif El Alaoui states that he believes AI systems need to be monitored due to how fast they are progressing. 

“If you conduct a conversation the first time, it might not be able to understand you, but the second time on this training, it is going to start figuring out your ideas and what you are asking,” Alaoui said. “When we start training those machines, they become more powerful and more intelligent. If you’re a company trying to implement AI into your products, it should be going through some regulations, and the government needs to approve the process, and not only approve, but also test it in real life.”

Several rules for AI programming companies were put into effect through this order. Companies must be sure to let the government know about their product while they are testing it. This is supposed to ensure a product that is safe and reliable for public use. Another rule, each and every AI system must be watermarked to ensure that the user of the product knows that it is machine-operated. This will help one know that the government is legitimate and personal when outputting data. 

Alaoui believes that watermarking is a positive concept for AI. By identifying AI for the public, the government can ensure that the public will know when AI is being utilized. 

“If that’s the case, it would be better for the government to impose some rules for those companies to illustrate more to the consumer, or what they are expecting from that product to get in return,” Alaoui said.

One example of AI commonly known as “deep fake” has caused issues on video streaming platforms. It is now possible for AI to manipulate a video of a person talking and interchange their words with a completely new statement or set of words. 

Computer science professor Christopher League believes that watermarking products will not necessarily solve the issue of AI identification. Currently, it is possible for AI to manipulate a video of a person talking and put a different voice or words in place of the legitimate person’s vocals.

“I’m not certain that watermarking is really the solution,” League said. “It may even provide a false sense of safety. My understanding of watermarking technology is that there can be some workarounds or some ways to disable it or to hide it. Usually there is some way where you can mask or defeat those sorts of things.”

Biden also hopes to prevent other countries from becoming lead producers in the AI industry. It will be a crucial way to control the overall output of technology across the world. 

“The order reflects the Biden Administration’s desire to make AI more secure and to cement U.S. leadership in global AI policy ahead of other attempts to regulate AI — most notably in the European Union and the United Kingdom, and to respond to growing competition in AI development from China,” Sidley, a group of political professionals, said. 

When third-party individuals have the ability to stream AI in the U.S., it can create dangerous situations for us. Not long ago China was blamed for potentially spying on American citizens through TikTok. 

Professor League sheds light on the fact that concerns regarding AI should not solely be centered around another country’s application of AI. He believes that the TikTok scandal was just one of the many issues that have arisen within the entire world. 

“That may or may not be an issue. I think a lot of U.S.-based companies are sort of pursuing these things in a very serious way that consumers may not appreciate what they’re getting into or what they’re getting in terms of their privacy and safety, so I don’t think it’s limited to China or other countries,” League said. 

Whether you are an avid user of AI technology or you have been watching from the sidelines, Biden’s new executive order has created new regulations designed to promise safety and security within our country.


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