White House demands all government agencies must appoint an AI officer to help mitigate risks

watch biden inauguration day 2021
(Image credit: Mark Makela/Getty Images)

The White House has unveiled a major policy update that marks a major step in the battle to ensure safe AI across the states, following plenty of other policy adjustments and introductions in recent months.

The policy, a response to President Biden’s directive, aims to manage the risks associated with AI while allowing federal agencies to benefit from its potential by mandating the appointment of a new type of C-suite executive.

Central to the policy, revealed by US Vice President Kamala Harris, is the appointment of chief AI officers within each federal agency. These officers will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of AI initiatives.

Chief AI Officers for all agencies

Chief AI Officers (CAIOs) will assess AI's impact on various aspects, including safety, security, civil rights, and market competition. 

The policy pushes for greater transparency, requiring agencies to publicly disclose their AI use cases and any exemptions granted. They have until December 1, 2024, to rectify any non-compliant AI uses, highlighting the White House’s commitment to accountability and public trust.

The official announcement exemplifies some of these safeguards, including allowing travellers to opt out of TSA facial recognition without it having an impact on their place in line, as well as ensuring human oversight over critical decisions across fraud detection and healthcare.

CAIOs, who are required to have significant expertise within the field, will have the authority to conduct assessments, provide oversight, and ensure compliance with safety standards.

This marks the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)’s first government-wide policy to mitigate risks of artificial intelligence and could be a sign of more things to come, including across both the US and globally.

Both the White House and governments globally have been making significant progress in terms of AI policies to protect both data and citizens, and the latest US policy sets a precedent for other agencies globally.

More from TechRadar Pro

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!