Biden’s AI executive order opens door for centralized control over tech for ‘political ends,’ State AGs fear

An executive order on artificial intelligence signed last year by President Joe Biden “opens the door” for the federal government to control the technology for “political ends.”

This is the warning coming from an alliance of state attorneys general who raised the alarm over the potential for the federal government to “centralize governmental control” of artificial intelligence, criticizing the executive order in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

“The Executive Order seeks—without Congressional authorization—to centralize governmental control over an emerging technology being developed by the private sector. In doing so, the Executive Order opens the door to using the federal government’s control over AI for political ends, such as censoring responses in the name of combatting ‘disinformation,’” wrote the coalition of 20 attorneys general.

Ostensibly to protect privacy, the order signed by Biden in October contained the “most sweeping actions ever taken to protect Americans from the potential risks of AI systems,” the White House said at the time.

“In accordance with the Defense Production Act, the Order will require that companies developing any foundation model that poses a serious risk to national security, national economic security, or national public health and safety must notify the federal government when training the model, and must share the results of all red-team safety tests,” the White House said. “These measures will ensure AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy before companies make them public.”

But in response to a request for information from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the state AGs, led by Utah AG Sean Reyes, said that Biden’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence “moves in the wrong direction.”

“We urge you not to attempt to centralize control over AI being developed in the U.S. or otherwise create barriers to entry in this critical and growing sector of our economy,” they wrote.

They argued that the executive order created a “gatekeeping function,” especially for the Commerce Department “to supervise AI development through mandatory testing and reporting requirements imposed on private companies.”

Further, the AGs contended, developers would be forced to submit to an “opaque and undemocratic process” to have their information reviewed.

“We are further concerned that the Executive Order’s bureaucratic and nebulous supervisory process will discourage AI development, further entrench large tech incumbents, and do little to protect citizens,” they wrote.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology “should not be in the business of developing standards for government supervision of private-sector AI until Congress has acted to authorize such supervision,” the AGs noted.

They warned that Biden’s order will force “partisan purposes” into decision-making, “forcing AI designers to prove that AI will squelch ‘disinformation.'”

“NIST should not use its assignment under the Executive Order to push a partisan agenda of censorship,” the letter to Raimondo read.

Issues relating to AI are “complex and important, but they must be addressed by our constitutional, democratic process, not by executive fiat,” the coalition wrote.

Speaking with Fox News Digital, Reyes asserted that the attorneys general will be “vigilant” in upholding the rule of law.

“While there is serious debate as to the best approach to regulate AI, one thing is clear—-the Biden administration cannot simply bypass congressional authority to act here,” Reyes said. “Any regulation must comport with the Constitution including only authorized executive action, as well as protecting against government censorship. As the administration proceeds to implement the White House AI Executive Order, we will remain vigilant on upholding the rule of law.”

Frieda Powers

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