White House releases policy on federal agencies’ use of AI

April 2, 2024

In the latest move to make policy around the use of artificial Intelligence, the White House Office of Management and Budget released a policy aimed at ensuring AI is used safely by federal agencies. The policy announcement is the culmination of a 150-day plan laid out by President Joseph Biden’s executive order from October 2023.

“Federal agencies have a distinct responsibility to identify and manage AI risks because of the role they play in our society, and the public must have confidence that the agencies will protect their rights and safety,” the White House announcement said.

The White House is giving federal agencies until Dec. 1 to implement measures that will “reliably assess, test, and monitor AI’s impacts on the public, mitigate the risks of algorithmic discrimination, and provide the public with transparency into how the government uses AI.”

Transparency is a key focus area. The White House wants all federal agencies to report the ways they use artificial intelligence by expanding requirements of what has to be reported to the government’s AI Use Case Inventory. Agencies must report whether they use AI in confidential circumstances, and they have to report data about how many use cases are withheld from public disclosure and why.

The White House is also enhancing the governance and oversight of AI usage. State agencies have 60 days to appoint a Chief AI Officer. Several agencies already have governing boards for the use of AI, including the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development. The new policy will require 24 of the largest federal agencies to follow suit and create AI governance boards.

While adding transparency and governance requirements, the White House is also pushing agencies to become sites of AI innovation through responsible use of the technology. The announcement points to several examples, including the Federal Emergency Management Aency using AI to assess structural damage following hurricanes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention using AI to predict disease spread and the Federal Aviation Administration using AI to avoid air traffic slowdowns.

“AI technology presents tremendous opportunities to help agencies address society’s most pressing challenges,” the White House announcement said, going so far as encouraging agencies “to responsibly experiment with generative AI, with adequate safeguards in place.”

In order to adopt more AI uses safely, the White House also emphasized the need for workforce development that prioritizes proficiency with artificial intelligence technology. By summer 2024, the Biden administration plans to hire 100 professionals with experience in the field.

More money will also flow to agencies to train existing workers on AI. The General Services Administration already has a government-wide AI training program that trained more than 7,500 government workers last year. The Biden administration’s 2025 budget includes an additional $5 million to expand the program.

“Government is leading by example as a global model for the safe, secure, and trustworthy use of AI,” the White House said.

The Office of Management and Budget also plans to issue a formal request for information to help inform decisions on how to govern AI when it is being used as part of a government contract and not by an agency directly.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Don't Miss

Massive support, funding now available to improve supply-chain networks

New opportunities for multimodal freight, rail, and port projects are
A hospital hallway.

New hospitals greenlit for Amarillo, Wichita Falls

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is searching