White House Proposes Regulatory Principles to Govern AI Use

January 9, 2020Updated: January 9, 2020

LAS VEGAS—The White House on Tuesday proposed regulatory principles to govern the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) aimed at limiting authorities’ “overreach,” and said it wants European officials to likewise avoid aggressive approaches.

In a fact sheet, the White House said federal agencies should “conduct risk assessment and cost-benefit analyses prior to any regulatory action on AI, with a focus on establishing flexible frameworks rather than one-size-fits-all regulation.”

The comments come at a time when companies are racing to integrate AI and deep machine learning into their businesses to remain competitive. However, the technology raises ethical concerns about control, privacy, cyber security, and the future of work, companies and experts have said.

Michael Kratsios, chief technology officer of the United States, said at a Web Summit in Lisbon on Nov. 7, 2019: “The Chinese government has built an advanced authoritarian state by twisting technology to put censorship over free expression and citizen control over empowerment. Through their massive system of censorship, the Great Firewall, the Chinese government violates the privacy of every person in their country by monitoring online communications and blocking access to information.

Yet, he added, “despite this and other grave and documented actions that run counter to the values of America, Europe, and our allies, countries around the world continue to consider opening their arms to Chinese companies in order to build critical infrastructure, like 5G, or develop key technology, like artificial intelligence.

“If we don’t act now, Chinese influence and control of technology will not only undermine the freedoms of their own citizens, but all citizens of the world,” he warned.

The Trump administration said agencies should “promote trustworthy AI” and “must consider fairness, non-discrimination, openness, transparency, safety, and security.”

As an example, the White House cited the Food and Drug Administration which is currently considering how to regulate the use of AI and machine learning technologies by medical device manufacturers.

The White House said, “Europe and our allies should avoid heavy handed innovation-killing models.” It added, “the best way to counter authoritarian uses of AI is to make sure America and our international partners remain the global hubs of innovation.”

Last year, the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence issued a set of ethical guidelines and European Union leaders are considering regulatory action.


Some U.S. states have raised concerns about AI applications. California’s legislature in September passed a three-year ban on state and local law enforcement using body cameras with facial-recognition software, the latest curb on technology that some say poses a threat to civil liberties. Some U.S. cities have also voted to bar facial-recognition technology by law enforcement.

An independent U.S. federal commission had also warned in November 2019 that the Chinese Communist Party has been working to erode America’s military superiority and deterrence capabilities through the integration of AI systems in its own military strategies, operations, and capabilities.

The commission recommended increasing investment in AI technology and use in national security missions.

In February, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order for federal government agencies to dedicate more resources and investment to AI-related research, promotion, and training.

Kratsios, who will talk about the administration’s AI strategy at the CES trade show in Las Vegas later this week, said in a statement that Tuesday’s “principles set the nation on a path of continued AI innovation and discovery.”

The White House held a meeting on AI in 2018 with over 30 major companies from a variety of industries, including Ford Motor Co., Boeing Co., Amazon.com Inc., and Microsoft Corp., vowing not to stand in the way of the technology’s development.

By David Shepardson. With additional reporting by The Epoch Times staff.