AI companies should start reporting their security tests to the US government

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The Biden administration will begin implementing a new requirement for developers of major artificial intelligence systems to disclose the results of their security testing to the government.

The White House AI Council is scheduled to meet Monday to review progress on an executive order President Joe Biden signed three months ago to manage the rapidly evolving technology.

Chief among the 90-day targets in the order is a mandate under the Defense Production Act that AI companies share key information, including security tests, with the Commerce Department.

Ben Buchanan, the White House's special adviser on AI, said in an interview that “the government wants AI systems to know they're safe before they're released to the public — the president has been very clear that companies need to meet that bar.”

Software companies adhere to categories for security testing, but companies are not yet required to adhere to a common standard on testing. As part of an order signed by Biden in October, the government's National Institute of Standards and Technology will develop a uniform framework for assessing security.

AI has emerged as a prominent economic and national security consideration for the federal government, due to the investments and uncertainties created by the launch of new AI tools such as ChatGPT, which can generate text, images and sounds. The Biden administration is also considering congressional legislation and working with other countries and the European Union on rules to manage the technology.

The Commerce Department has developed a draft rule on US cloud companies that provide servers to foreign AI developers.

Nine federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Transportation, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, have completed risk assessments regarding the use of AI in critical national infrastructure such as the electric grid.

The government has also increased the hiring of AI experts and data scientists in federal agencies.

“We know AI has transformative effects and potential,” Buchanan said. “We're not trying to push the Apple cart out there, but we're trying to make sure regulators are ready to handle this technology.”

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