On October 30 2023, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order to help regulate the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the United States of America. The order highlights AI as promising, but not without its risks and aims to mitigate and manage those risks for both citizens and the government.
This order lays out several categories of regulation, including standards for AI safety and security, rules aimed to protect Americans’ privacy, regulations for advancing equity and civil rights, rules designed to protect consumers, patients, and students, regulations to support workers, a plan for promoting innovation and competition, and rules to ensure responsible and effective government use of AI.
President Biden has outlined these new rules and regulations as part of his administration’s comprehensive strategy for responsible innovation and the Executive Order builds upon previous work, which includes the voluntary commitments of 15 leading organizations to build and support safe, secure, and trustworthy artificial intelligence.
So, how do these new rules impact marketers?
How Biden’s AI Executive Order will impact marketing and advertising
While there are several key points relating to the use of AI for national security, what is more interesting in this order is the protections spelled out for consumers. This includes protections against data mis-use and collection, as well as methods from differentiating AI generated content from “official” content.
One such protection is the demand that congress pass bipartisan data privacy legislation with the aim of better protecting privacy against risks posed by new AI technology. While it is unknown what this legislation will be, it is without doubt that the new laws proposed will likely impact the way marketers collect, store, and use audience data.
The Executive Order also states that the government will be evaluating “how agencies collect and use commercially available information.” placing great importance on personal privacy, even when data is commercially available.
Another use of AI directly addressed by the order is the use of generative AI as it pertains to fraud. The order states that: “The Department of Commerce will develop guidance for content authentication and watermarking to clearly label AI-generated content.” The explicit labeling of AI generated content is something that content marketers are going to need to watch closely.
One interestingly absent note in this executive order is rules regarding copyright. This may be due to larger legislation being written or because of recent rulings by the US Copyright Office which have already decided the copyright fate of AI written materials.
With that in mind, both of those rulings likely face appeal, so it isn’t out of the question that legislation may still be needed to protect the copyright of existing materials.
The Executive Order has several clauses aimed to reduce discrimination, but most notably for marketers, the order insists that developers work to “address algorithmic discrimination.” This is exciting, as it recognizes publicly the existence of bias within AI software and works to address it. If done well, the elimination of bias from AI algorithms should let marketers better collect and analyze data.
It is without a doubt that many a marketer has wondered how AI will impact their work – not only how they conduct their work, but how much work is available. This Executive Order looks to address the concerns, dictating that the government will “produce a report on AI’s potential labor-market impacts, and study and identify options for strengthening federal support for workers facing labor disruptions, including from AI.” It also looks to build a series of best practices to mitigate harm in regards to job displacement, labor standards, equity, health and safety, and data collection.
While it’s unclear how, it is certain that these new best-practices will likely impact the way in which workplaces, including marketing departments and agencies, implement AI.
New legislation can often be as nerve-wracking as it is exciting, and this Executive Order is no exception. Not every new regulation is spelled out just yet, but the goals of the document are not surprising. Data security is front of mind for many marketers, as is the need to reduce bias. It will be fascinating to see how these new rules play out and evolve over the coming years – and how they shift the ways in which marketers operate.