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The latest AI executive order deadlines

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Feb 27, 2024
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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tuesday marks 120 days since President Biden signed his AI executive order, and a handful of agencies say they're on track to meet immigration and research-related deadlines.

Why it matters: The White House laid out a series of deadlines in the executive order to ensure the U.S. doesn't fall behind on responsibly deploying AI.

  • The European Union is racing ahead on regulation, with the bloc's AI Act set to become law soon.
  • Workforce and research-related initiatives are viewed by government and industry players alike as crucial to national security and competitiveness.

Yes, but: Agency work may be undermined by a potential government shutdown.

State of play: The White House tasked agencies to fulfill specific requirements, largely focused on workforce and immigration issues, by today.

The National Science Foundation and Energy Department just launched a network to coordinate the advancement of privacy research and technology.

  • AI feeds off troves of data, and the technology has spurred a new sense of urgency for protecting people in a country where there is no federal data privacy law.
  • The network of academia, industry and government players will tackle how to reduce barriers to the widespread adoption of privacy-enhancing technology.

DOE was tasked with setting up a pilot program to enhance scientist training programs, with the goal of training 500 new researchers by 2025.

  • The effort is meant to address a shortage of AI-specialized workers in the U.S.
  • DOE spokesperson Amanda Finney: "DOE is on track to release a new website today that establishes this pilot, which will bring a number of DOE's lab-based trainings together for a more accessible and searchable process."
  • Finney said DOE, in partnership with NSF, "is already significantly exceeding the 500 new researcher goal" across programs.

The Office and Personnel Management issued guidance giving agencies "considerable discretionary authority to use a variety of pay flexibility, incentive pay, and leave and workforce flexibility programs" to support their AI efforts.

Training people in the U.S. alone won't be enough to address the country's workforce shortage, and the executive order aims to make it easier to bring in foreign talent.

  • DHS published information to better attract and retain experts in emerging tech.
  • The State Department was required by today to consider establishing new criteria to designate countries and skills for J-1 visa holders and implementing a visa renewal program to make it easier for highly skilled emerging tech workers to stay in the U.S.
  • State has already begun to explore an H1-B visa renewal pilot program.
  • State did not respond to a request for comment.

As Axios reported this month, USPTO provided required guidance for patent examiners and applicants regarding inventorship and the use of AI.

Officials and lawmakers consider AI and biosecurity one of the highest existential risks, and the AI EO included a directive on the issue due today.

  • The Defense Department was tasked with contracting with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to study AI and biosecurity threats.
  • A DOD spokesperson said the department is "prioritizing the work needed to accomplish this task" and added "a government shutdown is likely to result in delays."
  • NIST has a similar effort underway.

What they're saying: "It's important to remember that if a Nobel or a Turing award winner from India wanted to get a U.S. green card, we don't have one available for them and will likely not have one available for a couple of years," said Federation of American Scientists associate director Divyansh Kaushik.

  • "The Biden administration's actions are laudable, but at the end of the day, it's on Congress to modernize our immigration system, which is stuck in an era before the internet was a thing."

What's next: Treasury, NSF and OMB have until March 28 to meet the next set of deadlines.

  • Treasury will need to produce a public report regarding AI cyber risks in finance.
  • NSF must launch at least one regional AI innovation hub.
  • OMB is tasked with issuing guidance to other agencies on their specific efforts to responsibly deploy AI.
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