Tech industry reaction to Biden's AI executive order mixed

While it's the first extensive statement from the U.S. government on governing and promoting AI, it falls short of providing actionable steps to vendors.

The tech industry is dealing with the implications of an executive order on AI signed by President Joe Biden Oct. 30.

The order aims to establish new standards for AI safety and security, while protecting the privacy of American citizens, promoting innovation and spurring development of responsible AI.

"It's really looking at developing guidelines and best practices really across the whole field," said Katherine Hendrickson, a senior research lead at EpiSci, an AI military and aerospace software and hardware vendor, on the Targeting AI podcast from TechTarget Editorial.

While the order holds much promise for AI system developers, Hendrickson said its main value is its focus on research and the government partnering with research centers, while also appearing to fund a number of AI sectors.

The order also shows how the federal government is promoting AI technology internally, said Forrester analyst Alla Valente.

"From the language of this EO, what's clear is that the federal government is now being mandated to leverage AI, and then use that AI to improve how it does everything it does," she said.

What's clear is that the federal government is now being mandated to leverage AI, and then use that AI to improve how it does everything it does.
Alla ValenteAnalyst, Forrester Research

However, AI vendors in both the private and federal sectors should pay attention to the order, especially in the areas in which there is a call for standards in AI safety and security, Valente added.

The executive order discusses the need for new standards to test AI, built on the National Institute of Standards and Technology's framework.

"What the executive order is hoping to do is identify some of the risks as early as possible," Valente said. If that's accomplished, risk and security management practices can be embedded earlier in the development cycle of the AI lifecycle, she added.

While the intent of the executive order is to create standards and safety guardrails around AI systems, the lack of actionable steps stood out to Gopi Polavarapu, chief solutions officer at

"From a vendor perspective, it's a welcome governance that's coming from the government, but at the end of the day, we need to know what those standards are, how that's going to be enforced," Polavarapu said. is a startup vendor of conversational AI tools for enterprises.

Esther Ajao is a TechTarget Editorial news writer covering artificial intelligence software and systems. Shaun Sutner is senior news director for TechTarget Editorial's enterprise AI, business analytics, data management, customer experience and unified communications coverage areas. Together, they host the Targeting AI podcast series.

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