Trump signs another executive order on governmental AI development

This time, the order is focused on promoting the use of trustworthy artificial intelligence by the government.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

Outgoing US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order that aims to guide how federal agencies adopt artificial intelligence (AI) as part of efforts to build public trust in the government using this technology. 

The order itself directs federal agencies to be guided by nine principles when designing, developing, acquiring, and using AI. These principles emphasise that AI use by federal agencies be lawful; purposeful and performance-driven; accurate, reliable, and effective; safe, secure, and resilient; understandable; responsible and traceable; regularly monitored; transparent; and accountable. 

To implement these principles, the order directs the Office of Management and Budget to create a roadmap by the end of May 2021 for how the government will better support the use of AI. This roadmap will include a schedule for engaging with the public and timelines for finalising relevant policy guidance. 

The order also calls on agencies to continue to use voluntary consensus standards developed with industry participation.

"This order recognises the potential for AI to improve government operations, such as by reducing outdated or duplicative regulations, enhancing the security of federal information systems, and streamlining application processes," Trump said in a statement.

Federal agencies will also be required to prepare an inventory of AI use cases, as well as review and assess these use cases for consistency. 

The General Services Administration, meanwhile, has been directed to establish an AI track within the Presidential Innovation Fellows program to attract experts from industry and academia to work within agencies to further the design, development, acquisition, and use of AI in government.

During Trump's time in the White House, he has issued various initiatives on AI, with the most recent one, excluding the newest executive order, being a guidance on how to regulate AI applications that are produced in the US.

Released last month, the guidance was created behind the idea that federal agencies should not introduce regulations and rules that "hamper AI innovation and growth".

"While narrowly tailored and evidence-based regulations that address specific and identifiable risks could provide an enabling environment for US companies to maintain global competitiveness, agencies must avoid a precautionary approach that holds AI systems to an impossibly high standard such that society cannot enjoy their benefits and that could undermine America's position as the global leader in AI innovation," the guidance said.

Trump also signed a separate executive order almost two years ago, which was created with the intent of fast-tracking the development and regulation of artificial intelligence in the United States.

The older executive order aimed to achieve this by launching the American AI Initiative, which sought to encourage federal agencies to invest in AI research and development (R&D), increase AI resources, establish AI governance standards, better educate workers about AI, and promote an international environment that promotes AI R&D.

Trump, who entered office at the start of 2017, lost this year's US presidential election to Democrat candidate Joe Biden. 

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