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Trump Signs Executive Order, Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence in Government

On December 3, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed the Executive Order on Promoting the Use of Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence in the Federal Government, which establishes guidance for Federal agency adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to more effectively deliver services to the American people and foster public trust in this critical technology. This order recognizes the potential for AI to improve government operations, such as by reducing outdated or duplicative regulations, enhancing the security of Federal information systems, and streamlining application processes. It also directs agencies to ensure that the design, development, acquisition, and use of AI is done in a manner that protects privacy, civil rights, civil liberties, and American values.

The Executive Order (EO) underscores the Trump Administration’s commitment to accelerating Federal adoption of AI, modernizing government, cultivating public trust in AI, and exemplifying world leadership in the use of trustworthy AI.

The EO includes four important actions by the Trump Administration:

  1. Principles for the Use of AI in Government
    The EO directs Federal agencies to be guided by nine common principles for the design, development, acquisition, and use of AI. These principles emphasize that AI use by Federal agencies must be lawful; purposeful and performance-driven; accurate, reliable, and effective; safe, secure, and resilient; understandable; responsible and traceable; regularly monitored; transparent; and accountable. These principles build upon related principles already established by the defense and intelligence communities, and are designed to cover Federal applications beyond defense and national security.
  2. Common Policy for Implementing Principles
    The EO establishes a process for implementing these principles through common policy guidance across agencies. The order directs OMB to develop and post a roadmap for policy guidance to better support the use of AI by agencies, consistent with this order. The order further calls on agencies to continue to use voluntary consensus standards developed with industry participation, as appropriate.
  3. Catalogue of Agency Use Cases of AI
    The EO directs each agency to prepare an inventory of use cases of AI by the agency, and review and assess these use cases for consistency with this order. These inventories will be shared with other agencies, as appropriate, to improve interagency coordination for advancing the implementation of the principles in the design, development, acquisition, and use of AI.
  4. Enhanced AI Implementation Expertise
    The EO directs the General Services Administration to establish an AI track within the Presidential Innovation Fellows program to attract experts from industry and academia to work within agencies to further the design, development, acquisition, and use of AI in government. The order further directs the Office of Personnel Management to determine how rotational programs can be best used to expand the number of employees with AI expertise at the agencies.

Through this EO, the United States is signaling to the world its continued commitment to the development and use of AI underpinned by democratic values.

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