Biden’s Executive Order on Safe, Secure AI for Students

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President Biden recently issued a landmark executive order that establishes new standards for AI safety and security, protects privacy, advances equity and civil rights, stands up for students and workers, promotes innovation and competition, and aims to help manage the risks of artificial intelligence (AI). 

New Standards for AI Safety, Security, Privacy

In the executive order, Biden requires companies developing AI models that pose a severe risk to national security, economic security, or public health to notify the federal government when training the model. They must also share the results of all safety tests. 

The Commerce Department will develop guidance for content authentication and watermarking to label AI-generated content.

Additionally, the executive order aims to protect Americans' privacy from the risks of AI and calls on Congress to pass bipartisan data privacy legislation to protect all Americans, especially kids. 

The legislation will protect privacy by prioritizing federal support for accelerating the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques, strengthening privacy-preserving research and technologies, evaluating how agencies collect and use commercially available information, and developing guidelines for federal agencies to assess the effectiveness of privacy-preserving techniques. 

Advancing Equity and Civil Rights with AI

Irresponsible uses of AI can lead to and deepen discrimination, bias, and other abuses in justice, healthcare, housing, and education.

In the executive order, Biden provides clear guidelines to various institutions and organizations to keep AI algorithms from being used to exacerbate discrimination, address algorithmic discrimination, and ensure fairness throughout the criminal justice system. 

“President Biden’s executive order around AI is vital in ensuring fair and responsible use of AI in higher education, both in the classroom and the admissions process,” Will Rose, Student Select AI Chief Technology Officer, said in an official statement. 

“Education institutions utilizing AI should understand, articulate, and validate how and why specific recommendations or decisions are made by the tool – especially when making recommendations that impact student’s future livelihoods,” Rose continued. 

Student Select AI’s glass-box model undergoes regular bias audits following EEOC regulations and emerging AI privacy legislation, Rose explains, to ensure accurate, unbiased evaluations and fairness, equity, and consistency for all job applicants. “We’re glad that President Biden is taking necessary steps to help protect Americans as AI technology adoption continues to speed up.”

Standing Up for Consumers, Patients, Students

Although AI can create an immersive and virtual learning experience for students and teachers by filling learning gaps and creating a more personalized plan for each student, it also raises questions about what is ethical within the academic sphere. 

To protect students and consumers, Biden intends to shape AI’s potential to transform education by creating resources to support educators deploying AI-enabled educational tools, such as personalized tutoring in schools.

“The actions that President Biden directed today are vital steps forward in the U.S.’s approach on safe, secure, and trustworthy AI. More action will be required, and the Administration will continue to work with Congress to pursue bipartisan legislation to help America lead the way in responsible innovation,” according to an official statement from The White House.

Growing Use of AI in Higher Education

Technological innovations have expanded the parameters of what we thought artificial intelligence (AI) could do. 

An October 2023 survey found that four in 10 CIOs report their higher education institution is in the beginning (38%) or advanced (2%) stages of using AI technology for instructional purposes. Additionally, 42% of institutions in the U.S. use AI for recruiting and admissions.

By the end of this year, the global AI in education market is expected to reach approximately $3.68 billion.

But as the use of AI increases, there is a growing concern about the lack of transparency in its decision-making processes. AI's “black box” nature can leave us uncertain and skeptical, wondering how AI arrives at its recommendations and decisions.

Black box AI models arrive at conclusions or decisions without explaining how they were reached, making it increasingly challenging to identify why an AI model produces biased outputs and where errors in judgment are occurring.

On the other hand, white box AI, sometimes called glass box AI, is transparent about how it comes to conclusions, meaning humans can monitor an algorithm and understand its behavior and the factors influencing its decision-making.

William Rose, CTO at Student Select AI, explained that when it comes to AI that can materially impact our lives or livelihoods, like in university admissions, institutions must prioritize the explainability and transparency of their AI tools for both ethical and legal reasons. 

“If an AI model helps make an admission recommendation, it’s critical that we understand and articulate why that decision or recommendation was made,” Rose said. 

“As part of the validation process, Student Select AI investigates and continuously monitors the relationship between assessment outcomes and subgroup membership,” Rose continued.” Our findings support using our selection assessment tool as nondiscriminatory against any protected classes, thus ensuring legal defensibility.”

As a best practice, we utilize three primary sources of guidance for conducting validation research, including:

At Student Select AI, we're committed to providing explainable AI across all our products. If any questions arise, we'll show you how the decisions were made.

Contact us today to see how we do it.

The executive order discusses new standards for AI safety, security, and privacy and aims to advance equity and civil rights for all students by providing clear guidelines across the board.


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