President Biden’s Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence Sets Standards for More Secure and Ethical Systems

The AI balancing act: Fostering innovation while ensuring robust safeguards.

Wasim Khaled

To many in the technology industry, Implementing regulations on AI can initially seem restraining, much like seatbelt laws when they were first introduced. People often resist change, especially when it feels like it impairs their freedom. However, just as seatbelts ultimately led to increased speed limits because they made driving safer, regulations on AI can ultimately lead to a safer and more ethical development of AI technologies. By setting clear guidelines and standards, we can create a safer ecosystem where innovations can move faster without the risk of unforeseen ethical dilemmas and unintended consequences.

LEARN MORE: What Is A Narrative Attack?

The seemingly non-stop barrage of innovations in the AI space has elicited a range of reactions from excitement to fear among the public and policymakers alike. Responses often reflect one’s stance on the role of government in AI – should it act as a facilitator, a regulator, or assume complete control? Finding a middle ground is the most pragmatic approach, but it is easier said than done. The burgeoning field of generative AI, in particular, offers immense opportunities for societal advancement, with its potential to elevate industries and enrich jobs by automating routine tasks. This, in turn, allows workers to engage in more fulfilling, higher-level activities.

Nevertheless, it is imperative to address concerns surrounding the potential pitfalls of AI, including the risk of bias and misuse. Some even liken the dangers AI poses to those of hazardous pathogens or nuclear weaponry, underscoring the need for immediate and comprehensive measures to safeguard AI systems’ integrity, security, and reliability. Our team has noted the explosion of generative AI in the propagation of harmful narrative attacks at scale across various attack surfaces in the public and private sectors across various industries. Disinformation as a service actor has an entirely new toolkit to flood the information ecosystem with propaganda designed to shift perception and warp realities.

President Biden’s new Executive Order is a landmark moment for much-needed artificial intelligence and cybersecurity oversight. The directive establishes a path toward robust, reliable, and attack-resistant AI applications by instituting safety and security standards for AI systems. It encourages companies to strengthen research and development, refine safety methods, and promote collaboration to meet AI standards.

The executive order on AI encourages the cybersecurity industry to strengthen its focus on robust, reliable, and secure AI implementations. The executive order’s emphasis on collaboration for AI and cybersecurity standards is timely and vital. Cyber threats recognize no borders, so mitigation strategies should be similarly borderless. Global cooperation allows standardizing best practices and compliance benchmarks, easing defenses against emerging risks.  

However, the industry faces a significant challenge: Ensuring the enforceability of these new standards. The mandate is promising, but it could lack bite unless both expert insights and advanced technologies support a robust auditing mechanism. Therefore, companies must ramp up their R&D efforts significantly or find reliable endpoints to drive progress. 

In the context of disinformation and narrative warfare, global partnerships are particularly needed. While AI enables tremendous innovations that can benefit society, it also poses significant risks if deployed without proper safeguards. AI systems can amplify existing biases, discriminate against marginalized groups, and make incorrect or harmful decisions, especially in high-stakes domains like healthcare, criminal justice, and finance. The capabilities of generative AI also raise concerns about the spread of misleading online narratives and the erosion of truth. The prospect of superintelligent AI poses existential threats if it escapes human control.  

Universal norms and regulations around AI safety prevent fragmented policies and enable collective preparation. With improved coordination across borders, the potential damage from AI-enabled attacks is significantly reduced.

For any business pursuing AI, a few specific considerations are crucial:

  • Robustness and Reliability: AI models must not only perform consistently but also be resilient against adversarial attacks such as data poisoning. This factor becomes more critical when life-altering decisions are made in healthcare and criminal justice or when leveraging risk signals to make strategic decisions with significant impact.
  • Transparency and Accountability: In sectors like the justice system, there must be a means to understand and justify AI decisions. This is vital for maintaining public trust.
  • Regular Audits: Ongoing evaluations of AI systems are essential to identify vulnerabilities and biases, especially as threats continually evolve.

The executive order lays the groundwork for constructive dialogues between US public and private entities and international allies. Developing global AI safety norms prevents fractured policies and regulations. It also enables joint readiness against threats from malicious actors.  

Cross-border, cross-industry partnerships allow each sector to learn from the other. By proactively working to identify and mitigate risks, the harm from AI-enabled narrative attacks.

The act of balancing innovation and safety will continue to be a tightrope flipping between harnessing the full potential of this groundbreaking technology in public and private sectors as other nation-states significantly ramp up their investments in AI while ensuring that we don’t compromise on safety and ethics considerations that align with our values as a nation. 

On one hand, the innovative capabilities of AI, incredibly generative AI, are truly revolutionary. They can transform industries, elevate job roles, and drive economic progress. On the other hand, we cannot turn a blind eye to the potential risks associated with AI, such as bias, misuse, and even existential threats. We must strike a delicate balance between fostering innovation and implementing robust safeguards to protect society from the possible pitfalls. 

This includes establishing clear guidelines, conducting ongoing monitoring using sophisticated technologies, and being prepared to make necessary adjustments as the technology evolves to ensure that policy and regulation are not toothless or favoring the early incumbents. Only then can we fully unlock the benefits of AI while providing a safe and ethical development path.

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About Blackbird.AI

BLACKBIRD.AI protects organizations from narrative attacks created by misinformation and disinformation that cause financial and reputational harm. Our AI-driven Narrative Intelligence Platform – identifies key narratives that impact your organization/industry, the influence behind them, the networks they touch, the anomalous behavior that scales them, and the cohorts and communities that connect them. This information enables organizations to proactively understand narrative threats as they scale and become harmful for better strategic decision-making. A diverse team of AI experts, threat intelligence analysts, and national security professionals founded Blackbird.AI to defend information integrity and fight a new class of narrative threats. Learn more at Blackbird.AI.

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