President Donald Trump is establishing a set of Western-themed principles that agencies must use to regulate artificial intelligence, according to a proposal posted Tuesday on the White House website.
Trump’s proposal applies exclusively to private companies rather than the government itself, a memo posted on the White House’s website notes. It’s a first set of principles designed to determine how facial recognition and other forms of technology can be rolled out, the memo said.
U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios says the standards will goose other countries to develop similar proposal. Under the proposal, agencies must increase public participation in the regulatory process, limit regulatory overreach, and promote transparency.
“[T]he United States is taking the lead to advance emerging technology in a way that reflects our values of freedom, human rights, and civil liberties,” the memo states. The proposals stem from the American Artificial Intelligence Initiative (AAII) executive order Trump signed in 2019.
Yet the proposal is also aimed at one goal in particular: putting China on the defensive as the communist country uses state-of-the-art technology to track its own citizens. (RELATED: REPORT: Chinese Big Tech Is Using Zimbabwe Citizens As Guinea Pigs To Identify And Track Black People)
“We are trying to pull our allies closer and those groups closer toward the U.S. position of pro-innovation and when that supports a value set which is in contrast to some of our adversaries,” Kratsios told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
He did not cite China as one such adversary but did suggest people inside the country are pushing for the type of standards Trump is now proposing. The establishment of free and open standards are not taking root in China, Kratsios says.
“On the ground nothing is changing in China — artificial intelligence is being used by the Chinese Communist Party to surveil their people, track minorities, and imprison Uyghurs” he said, referring to reports suggesting China is imprisoning its Muslim minorities.
China often engages in a type of bait and switch on these issues, according to Kratsios.
“With these international agreements, the Chinese are quick to sign up but often do not follow through with their commitments,” Kratsios added, citing what he said was China’s move to violate its commitments to the World Trade Organization, which the country joined in 2001.
The administration’s plans come amid reports showing ZTE and other Chinese tech behemoths are shaping the United Nations’s architectural standards for facial recognition technology. The standard will reportedly help China’s tech industry open up new markets in the Middle East and Africa.
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