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Civil Society Coalition Urges White House to Implement Binding AI Bill of Rights

A consortium of civil, technology, and human rights organizations is urging the White House to turn its proposed artificial intelligence (AI) regulation guidelines into legally binding rules through an imminent executive order, as revealed in a letter delivered on Thursday.


The group is advocating for the Biden administration to transform the AI Bill of Rights, a blueprint of which was published last October, into official government policy governing the use of AI by federal agencies, contractors, and recipients of federal grants.


In no uncertain terms, the letter emphasized that "the federal government should only employ an AI system if its effectiveness, safety, and nondiscriminatory nature are demonstrated. AI must operate effectively and be universally beneficial."


The letter is a reaction to the White House's announcement last month that an executive order related to responsible AI innovation is under development.


The AI Bill of Rights blueprint serves as a guideline for the rapidly expanding industry, marking one of several initiatives by the administration to set in motion AI regulation.


In the previous month, the administration announced that it had obtained voluntary commitments to manage AI risks from seven major companies, including Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI.


However, the absence of binding obligations primarily allows the tech industry to set its own safety measures.


Signatories of the letter include nine entities such as the Center for American Progress, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the NAACP, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.


The coalition suggested that the upcoming executive order should instruct the executive branch to "immediately enforce the AI Bill of Rights for federal agencies, contractors, and grant recipients". As the country's largest employer, they argued, the federal government holds "an enormous capacity to influence the evolving AI policy and business landscape."


The groups recommended that the obligation for federal agencies should also include law enforcement and the national security sector.


They highlighted the potential of the imminent AI executive order, stating: "We urge you to seize this essential opportunity to put into action the principles your administration has championed."


While the White House considers its options, Congress is also contemplating ways to regulate AI. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has introduced a framework for AI policy and conducted briefings for senators on the risks and opportunities AI presents, but a definitive regulatory package is yet to be formulated.

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