The Brave New World: President Biden Signs Executive Order On Use Of Artificial Intelligence 

By Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Alex W. Karasik, and George J. Schaller

Duane Morris Takeaways: On October 30, 2023, President Biden signed an Executive Order (the “EO”) providing guidance for employers on the emerging utilization of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace.  The EO establishes industry standards for AI security, innovation, and safety across significant employment sectors. Spanning over 100 pages, the robust EO endeavors to set parameters for responsible AI use, seeking to harness AI for good while mitigating risks associated with AI usage.

For businesses who utilize AI software in their employment decisions processes, the EO signifies a shift in beneficial versus harmful AI use and promotes a principled plan on advancing beneficial AI use.

Security, Innovation, And Safety With AI

AI’s significant developments in such a short period has required policymakers to keep up with the ever-changing AI landscape.  President Biden’s EO manifests the White House’s commitment to AI use in a safe and secure manner.  The EO also signals a commitment to promoting responsible innovation, competition, and collaboration to propel the United States to lead in AI and unlock the technology’s potential.  At the same time, the EO focuses on AI implications for workplaces and problematic AI usage.

AI And Employment Issues

In the White House’s continued dedication to advance equity and civil rights, the EO purports to commit to supporting American workers.  As AI creates new jobs and industries, the EO maintains that all workers should be included in benefiting from AI opportunities. As to the workplace, the EO asserts that responsible AI use will improve workers’ lives, positively impact human work, and help all to gain from technological innovation. Nonetheless, the EO opines that irresponsible AI use could undermine workers’ rights.

Further, protections to Americans who increasingly interact with AI are contemplated in the EO and signals that organizations will not be excused from legal obligations.  Chief among these protections are continued enforcement of existing safeguards against fraud, unintended bias, discrimination, infringements on privacy, and other harms from AI.  The White House seeks parity with the Federal Government in enforcement efforts and creating new appropriate safeguards against harmful AI use.

Significantly, within 180 days of issuing the EO, the Secretary of Labor is tasked with consulting with agencies and outside entities (including labor unions and workers) to develop and publish principles and best practices for employers to maximize AI’s potential benefits.  In so doing, the key principles and best practices are to address job-displacement, labor standards and job quality, and employer’s AI-related collection and use of worker data.  These principles and best practices further aim to prevent any harms to employees’ well-being.

Implications For Employers

This lengthy order should alert employers that AI is here to stay and the perils of AI use will change as the technology further augments the modern workforce.

As AI becomes more engrained in employment, employers should be mindful of the guidance developed in the EO and should stay up to date on any legislation that stems from AI usage. If businesses have not been paying attention to AI developments, now is the time to start.

© 2009- Duane Morris LLP. Duane Morris is a registered service mark of Duane Morris LLP.

The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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