White House Releases Draft Guidance for the Regulation of Artificial Intelligence

Jan 27, 2020

by ASME.org

The White House recently put out a memorandum with draft guidance to inform Federal agencies on the development of regulations pertaining to “weak” artificial intelligence (AI), which is considered “AI that goes beyond advanced conventional computing to learn and perform domain-specific or specialized tasks by extracting information of the potential regulation on AI innovation and growth,” but not “AI that may exhibit sentience or conscious.” The guidance promotes reducing barriers to the development and adoption of AI technology by providing policy considerations that should guide oversight of AI developed and deployed outside of the Federal government. The memorandum carefully starts that while “Federal agencies currently use AI in many ways to perform their missions, government use of AI is outside the scope of this memorandum.”

The guidance offered in the memorandum sets out to encourage innovation and growth in AI and proper stewardship for AI applications, though cautions that “Agencies should consider new regulation only after they have reached the decision … that Federal regulation is necessary.” When considering weather regulations will enhance the stewardship of AI applications, the memorandum encourages agencies to consider:

  1. Public Trust in AI
  2. Public Participation
  3. Scientific Integrity and Information Quality
  4. Risk Assessment and Management
  5. Benefits and Costs
  6. Flexibility
  7. Fairness and Non-Discrimination
  8. Disclosure and Transparency
  9. Safety and Security
  10. Interagency Coordination


 If instead an agency determines that sufficient regulations exist or that regulations would not provide greater benefit to AI applications, then agencies may instead consider non-regulatory approaches to address risks posed by the AI. The memorandum lists examples of non-regulatory approaches as:

  1. Sector-Specific Policy Guidance or Frameworks
  2. Pilot Programs and Experiments
  3. Voluntary Consensus Standards
  4. Access to Federal Data and Models for AI R&D
  5. Communication to the Public
  6. Agency Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and Conformity Assessment Activities
  7. International Regulatory Cooperation


To read the entire draft memorandum, visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Draft-OMB-Memo-on-Regulation-of-AI-1-7-19.pdf.

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