U.S. Government implements comprehensive AI policy directive to ensure transparency, accountability, and ethical deployment

The U.S. government's new AI policy directive mandates reporting on AI activities, aiming to regulate AI use in critical sectors, enhance transparency, appoint AI officers, and foster trust while addressing staffing challenges.

By Raunak Bose
New Update
U.S. Government Implements Comprehensive AI Policy Directive to Ensure Transparency, Accountability, and Ethical Deployment

U.S. Government Implements Comprehensive AI Policy Directive to Ensure Transparency, Accountability, and Ethical Deployment

In a notable step towards monitoring agency compliance and transparency in AI use, the U.S. authorities have recently issued a policy directive requiring all federal entities to report on their AI activities every year. The said directive, which is from The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), portrays the government's ambition to regulate AI, especially in areas such as health, education, labour, and housing.

In the new policy, the responsibility of government agencies is to provide full reports on their expertise in AI, especially in the fields dealing with the health of people and safety. Furthermore, agencies need to put in place safeguards for testing and monitoring of public impact in order to minimize the risks associated with the application of AI deployment.

The primary goal of the proposed legislation is to enhance federal supervision and responsibility around the development and deployment of AI systems. Through encouraging transparent and security-related procedures, the government aims to become a worldwide leader in the ethical and trust-based employment of AI technologies.

Government AI Policy Through the Lens of Darrell West

Darrell West, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, considers the policy as a balanced approach by the government, by recognizing the risks involved with AI but utilizing its benefits as well. He relates the main achievement brought in by this directive, which is the summarization of data, and this will make AI actions more transparent to the general public.

Darell West
Darell West(Image via Getty Images)

The AI policy of the OMB provides for such measures as human control of AI systems, an option for individuals to opt out of certain AI applications used in airports, and the obligation for agencies to discontinue the use of AI if safety measures cannot be implemented properly.

In order to achieve efficient AI governance, federal agencies are to appoint chief AI officers to direct AI strategies and create AI governance committees. On top of it, the Biden administration aims to hire 100 AI and IT experts by the end of the summer to meet the rising importance of AI expertise among federal personnel.

This policy is definitely a step in the right direction for responsible AI treatment. However, issues are yet to arise, particularly in staffing and retaining the skilful AI workforce within federal agencies. West calls for the agencies to establish widespread professional development programs that can support AI-related skills for government employees.

Alexandra Reeve Givens, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, puts forward the OMB AI policy as a major instrument for ensuring that the use of AI is both responsible and transparent throughout all federal agencies. She suggests that identifying standardized processes and procurement methods must be a priority, for AI implementation will be consistent and the risks will be reduced.

Maya Wiley, the US president and Chief Executive for the Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights, puts emphasis on the necessity of building and maintaining trust of AI technologies to be in the interest of the whole of society without it jeopardizing humanity. She approves of the OMB’s recommendations to align with such principles in the industry and increase accountability on the deployment of AI. 

All in all, the OMB AI policy is indeed a key step forward for the federal government in terms of dealing with the complexities of AI regulation, and thus, it promotes more transparency, accountability, ethical considerations, and a responsible approach to the utilization of AI.

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