The Trump administration recently submitted new rules governing any future federal regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) used in an array of industries, according to reports, including transportation and medicine, among others.
AI watchdogs, however, are unlikely to be satisfied because of ambiguities in the White House’s proposed principles. These advocacy groups are concerned with the current lack of accountability, as more computer infrastructure and software systems are developed to work in place of people in multiple professional environments.
The administration said that, in taking new regulatory action, U.S. agencies “must consider fairness, non-discrimination, openness, transparency, safety and security.” Federal agencies must also avoid establishing restrictions or impediments that “needlessly hamper AI innovation and growth,” according to a memo from Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.
“Agencies must avoid a precautionary approach that holds AI systems to such an impossibly high standard that society cannot enjoy their benefits,” the memo elaborated.
Any new rules will not impact how federal agencies like law enforcement utilize “facial recognition and other forms of AI.” The rules are instead “limited to how federal agencies devise new AI regulations for the private sector. … A 60-day public comment period [is legally in place] before the rules take effect,” the report said.
“These principles are intentionally high-level,” said Lynne Parker, U.S. deputy chief technology officer for the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. “We purposely wanted to avoid top-down, one-size-fits-all blanket regulations.”
Terah Lyons, founding executive director of Partnership on AI, said the White House principles won’t likely have an immediate or overwhelming impact.
“The AI developer community may see that as a positive step in the right direction,” said Lyons, who previously at the White House during the Obama administration. “It’s a little bit hard to see what the actual impact will be.”
New York University’s AI Now Institute, another industry watchdog, is encouraged by these new boundaries on AI applications, but added that it “will take time to assess how effective these principles are in practice.”