Harris spells out US AI response

US vice president Kamala Harris has used her visit to the United Kingdom for its global summit on artificial intelligence (AI) to announce a series of new initiatives to advance the safe and responsible use of AI.

A White House spokesperson said since taking office, president Joe Biden and vice president Harris “have moved with urgency to seize the promise and manage the risks posed by AI”. “The Biden-Harris Administration is working with the private sector, other governments, and civil society to uphold the highest standards to ensure that innovation does not come at the expense of the public’s rights and safety,” they added.

Harris used the summit to announce a series of initiatives.

The creation of the United States AI Safety Institute: The Safety Institute (US AISI) will operationalise NIST’s AI Risk Management Framework by creating guidelines, tools, benchmarks, and best practices for evaluating and mitigating dangerous capabilities and conducting evaluations including red-teaming to identify and mitigate AI risk.

The Institute will develop technical guidance that will be used by regulators considering rulemaking and enforcement on issues such as authenticating content created by humans, watermarking AI-generated content, identifying and mitigating against harmful algorithmic discrimination, ensuring transparency, and enabling adoption of privacy-preserving AI, and would serve as a driver of the future workforce for safe and trusted AI. It will also enable information-sharing and research collaboration with peer institutions internationally, including the UK’s planned AI Safety Institute (UK AISI), and partner with outside experts from civil society, academia, and industry.

The Biden-Harris Administration is releasing for public comment its first-ever draft policy guidance on the use of AI. This draft policy outlines steps to advance responsible AI innovation in government, increase transparency and accountability, protect federal workers, and manage risks from sensitive uses of AI. The draft policy would create specific safeguards for uses of AI that impact the rights and safety of the public. This includes requiring that federal departments and agencies conduct AI impact assessments, identify, monitor, and mitigate AI risks, sufficiently train AI operators, conduct public notice and consultation for the use of AI, and offer options to appeal harms caused by AI. More details on this policy and how to comment can be found at ai.gov/input.

The United States has also released a Political Declaration on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy. Harris announced that 30 nations have joined the United States in endorsing this Declaration and has on others to join.

“This Declaration establishes a set of norms for responsible development, deployment, and use of military AI capabilities that can help responsible states around the globe harness the benefits of AI capabilities—including those enabling autonomous functions and systems for their military and defence establishments—in a responsible and lawful manner,” a spokesperson explained. “These norms include compliance with international humanitarian law, properly training personnel, building in critical safeguards, and subjecting capabilities to rigorous testing and legal review.”

Harris also announced a new initiative with philanthropic organisations related to AI. This includes a vision for philanthropic giving to advance AI “that is designed and used in the best interests of workers, consumers, communities, and historically marginalized people in the United States and across the globe”. Ten foundations have announced they have collectively committed more than $200 million in funding toward initiatives to advance the priorities laid out by Harris in her speech. They are forming a funders network to coordinate new philanthropic giving to advance work organised around five pillars: ensuring AI protects democracy and rights, driving AI innovation in the public interest, empowering workers to thrive amid AI-driven changes, improving transparency and accountability of AI, and supporting international rules and norms on AI.

“As part of the vice president’s global work to strengthen international rules and norms, the vice president is committed to establishing a set of rules and norms for AI, with allies and partners, that reflect democratic values and interests, including transparency, privacy, accountability, and consumer protections,” The spokesperson added. “Her trip to London and participation in the Global Summit on AI Safety will further advance this work.”

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