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Department of Homeland Security Issues Guidelines for AI

Monreal IT May 2, 2024 1:06:01 PM
Blog Post Featured Photo of American Flag and the text

You’re using it, I’m using it, we’re all using it! AI has taken hold in many aspects of our daily lives and the trend looks poised to continue. From writing draft email templates and generating basic code to writing full books and executing complex computing tasks autonomously, these systems offer great power; we all know what comes with great power (or maybe not if you haven’t seen Spider-Man).

Worldwide Worry

The technology sector picked up and absolutely sprinted with the likes of ChatGPT and other large language models (LLMs), regularly casting aside safety concerns and flouting advisories from watchdogs around the world: UK | Japan | US

The sparkling prospect of being first-to-market with an AI product suite was too attractive to resist, and so Microsoft unleashed the full power of ChatGPT on its user base, including both corporate and personal users, in the form of its Copilot application. Subsequently, Google went into meltdown mode and unleashed its even more infantile LLM, Gemini, on its similarly massive user base. The results are mixed, but one thing’s for sure: the dangers posed by these technologies are enormous and poorly understood.

Queue the DHS

The United States, along with the 4 other Five Eyes member countries, has taken the lead in establishing a framework for the responsible use of AI. On April 29th, 2024, the Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with CISA and CWMD, published a set of guidelines for AI’s deployment and use in federal government, critical infrastructure, and the US economy. The directive comes from the current presidential administration’s Executive Order. The Order, issued October 30th, 2023, was accompanied by a White House Fact Sheet which states:

“The Executive Order establishes new standards for AI safety and security, protects Americans’ privacy, advances equity and civil rights, stands up for consumers and workers, promotes innovation and competition, advances American leadership around the world, and more.”

180 days later and we’re seeing the fruits of that Order, and they’re surprisingly ripe! The Fact Sheet posted on the 29th contains more than a few substantial updates. Here are just a few:

  • Protecting water supplies, power grids, telecommunication, and other critical infrastructure
  • Reducing risks at the intersection of AI and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats
  • A new, whole-of-Department AI roadmap for DHS
  • The launch of the AI Corps Recruitment Sprint 

Pay a visit to the Fact Sheet (linked above) for a full listing.

This Bodes Well

As I mentioned, and as you likely already knew, the entire world is taking up AI. America may have invented a large percentage of today’s top technology, but that doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to stay on top. On the contrary – the US has outsourced technology prowess for nearly two decades, causing complacency in the domestic industry; it’s been a slow but steady brain drain. These new initiatives are good omens for the future of AI in America. Hopefully they’re but the tip of an iceberg.