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White House Nears New Rules on Artificial Intelligence – The Wall Street Journal

Forthcoming rules governing artificial-intelligence technology aim to avoid regulatory overreach, Trump administration CTO Michael Kratsios said at WSJ Tech Live 2020. Photo: Michael Brochstein/ZUMA Wire


Asa Fitch
Asa Fitch



Oct. 21, 2020 1:12 pm ET

The Trump administration is completing guidance for agencies on how to regulate artificial intelligence, according to senior technology official Michael Kratsios.

The guidance, Mr. Kratsios said Wednesday, follows a January draft of 10 principles that the White House said agencies should follow when crafting regulations covering AI in the respective industries they oversee. They included assessments of the costs and risks associated with the technology.

“We had a great, robust conversation with many stakeholders on it” during a comment period, he said at the WSJ Tech Live virtual conference, and a final version of the regulatory model should be coming very soon.

Mr. Kratsios, the U.S.’s chief technology officer, is the point person for the administration’s American AI Initiative, which President Trump launched last year through an executive order. It directs agencies to give priority to AI in their research and development efforts, to open up their data to AI experts and to encourage AI-related training.

Some parts of the U.S. government have already issued their own guidelines around AI, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a scientific body under the Department of Commerce. The Defense Department has developed principles around the use of AI as it explores applications in the military and warfare.

The Trump administration has sought to take advantage of the technology’s power to transform society while curbing its potential nefarious uses. The administration prefers what Mr. Kratsios has called a “light-touch” approach toward regulation to avoid holding back U.S. leadership in AI, which officials see as a priority in Washington’s technological competition with Beijing. He said some European countries are taking a heavier-handed regulatory approach that could stifle innovation if adopted in the U.S.

In conjunction with its focus on the domestic AI industry, the Trump administration has pursued international cooperation on development and oversight of AI, including an agreement with the U.K. last month and with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development last year on principles governing the fast-emerging technology.

Write to Asa Fitch at [email protected]

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