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White House Infers That It Will Pursue a Hands-Off Attitude to AI Regulation

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

In January the White House released a list of 10 principles that federal agencies should consider when making up new laws regarding the use and scope of AI. In the release by the Office of Science and Technology policy (OSTP), they stated that any regulation devised by agencies should aim to encourage qualities like “fairness, non-discrimination, openness, transparency, safety, and security”. They go on to say that the introduction of any new rules should also be preceded by risk assessment and cost-benefit analyses and must incorporate “scientific evidence and feedback from the American public.” The OSTP urged other nations to follow its lead, “Europe and our allies should avoid heavy handed innovation-killing models and instead consider a similar regulatory approach,” the OSTP said. They think that the best way to counter authoritarian uses of AI is to make sure America and its international partners remain the global hubs of innovation, shaping the evolution of technology in a manner consistent with “our common values.” While the U.S. seems to be following the principle of low regulation domestically, it has recently introduced new restrictions on the international stage. A new export ban came into place on Jan 6th, forbidding U.S. companies from selling software abroad that uses AI to analyse satellite imagery without a license. The ban could be seen as America’s attempt to counter the rise of tech rivals like China, which is quickly catching up to the U.S. in its development of AI. However, the ban seems to be very extremely narrow. It applies only to software that uses neural networks to discover “points of interest” in geospatial imagery.

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