The White House on Monday issued a new national policy on artificial intelligence (AI) that intends to balance the promise and the risks of an emerging technology that has gained increasing buzz—and confusion—in the business and supply chain realms.
In an executive order, the Biden Administration said its standard would achieve the following six goals: establishing new standards for AI safety and security, protecting Americans’ privacy, advancing equity and civil rights, standing up for consumers and workers, promoting innovation and competition, and advancing American leadership around the world.
The platform will apply the new standards through collaboration with a broad range of federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Commerce, and Department of Energy.
Applying the new standards will help build U.S. capacity to evaluate and mitigate the risks of AI systems to ensure safety, security, and trust, while promoting an innovative, competitive AI ecosystem that supports workers and protects consumers, according to a release from the Commerce Department.
The Commerce Department will support that mission largely through its National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which will lead technical work on AI safety for the U.S. government. Building on existing work, NIST will develop industry standards for the safe and responsible development of frontier AI models, create test environments to evaluate these systems, and develop standards on privacy and on authenticating when content is AI-generated.
“Expanding on our wide-ranging efforts in AI, NIST will work with private and public stakeholders to carry out its responsibilities under the executive order," Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie Locascio said in a release. "We are committed to developing meaningful evaluation guidelines, testing environments, and information resources to help organizations develop, deploy, and use AI technologies that are safe and secure, and that enhance AI trustworthiness.”
Early reaction from logistics industry sources praised the new standards for putting worker and labor union concerns front and center. Among other things, the executive order (EO) focuses on AI as a way to “augment” workers—not replace them—according to Chris Kuntz, VP of strategic operations for Augmentir, a company that offers a “connected workforce platform” that uses AI to operationalize training and on-the-job support for manufacturers.
“The EO addresses worker concerns around employers using AI to track productivity at a level that violates their federal labor rights. Augmentir is aligned with this caution; our central focus is on workforce development and training, an issue called out in the EO,” Kuntz said in an email statement. “We leverage the power of AI to help workers perform their jobs safely, correctly, and maximize their potential. This is where on-the-job learning comes into play, and a big aspect of this is GenAI and its use to generate training content or guidance/instruction for workers so they can perform their jobs safely.”