Yesterday, President Biden issued an executive order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI). The order builds on the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights that the Biden administration issued last year, and mandates steps that the federal government must take to regulate AI and address risks of algorithmic bias.
In response to the executive order, Legal Defense Fund (LDF) President and Director-Counsel Janai Nelson made the following statement:
“We are encouraged by President Biden’s executive order, which is an important step towards addressing the many dangers that artificial intelligence and automated decision-making systems pose to civil rights. These systems continue to reproduce and exacerbate inequities, bias, and discrimination in ways that undermine the fabric of our multiracial democracy. Addressing the civil rights consequences of AI requires a comprehensive approach that prevents AI harms to the livelihoods, privacy, and freedom of Black communities, including harms from unwarranted and biased intrusions by law enforcement.
“This executive order recognizes the many dangers that current uses of AI pose to Black communities. However, the strength of this order will be determined by how agencies, especially law enforcement agencies, implement its requirements. Federal agencies must prioritize its anti-discrimination requirements to ensure that Black communities and all people remain free from automated threats and discrimination. We look forward to the Office of Management and Budget’s forthcoming guidance to federal agencies regulating their use of AI, and we urge the guidance to include requirements for federal grants to not fund systems, such as law enforcement uses of predictive and risk-assessment algorithms, that racially discriminate.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with the Biden administration to ensure that the civil rights protections in the executive order are rigorously and swiftly implemented. We hope that this executive order is only the beginning of much-needed efforts to combat the harms of AI. Congress must also pursue AI legislation that would prohibit all forms of algorithmic discrimination and prohibit the federal use or funding of technology that violates civil rights.”
Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.