As the late film director Stanley Kubrick might have said, one would have to be living with “eyes wide shut” to not see the vast array of government-directed, government-funded, or government-connected schemes and practices used to censor pro-freedom Americans or to reduce the reach of their ideas.
From the recent revelations about so-called “fact-check” organizations like NewsGuard benefitting from federal cash even as they sent MRCTV baseless notices, and going all the way back to 2016 when Google/YouTube Whistleblower Zach Vorhies revealed the behind-the-scenes algorithmic system that his employers were using to reduce the profile of pro-freedom websites and videos, many of us know that collectivist political players have tried to use computer tech to block freedom of speech.
On October 30, Joe Biden put all of those previous (some likely ongoing) speech-suppression tactics on steroids, announcing a flagrantly unconstitutional “Executive Order” that claims for the federal government the power to, effectively, control any issuance of AI computer programs/services.
And when reading the awkwardly titled “Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence,” one could be forgiven for wondering if Biden’s words, themselves, were strewn together by a cheap AI.
It's not the clunky and grandiose self-congratulatory nature of the document that most offends. It’s the claims of power – power that not only robs private individuals and business people of their right to control any AI work that they might offer in the market, but which also gives the federal government the ability to shape AI algorithms in ways that will suppress inclusion of politically disfavored information and artificially amplify other, politically preferred, information.
Which sure is shocking, coming from an administration which is fighting to push social media to censor posts, even as an important lawsuit (Missouri v. Biden) over the Biden practice moves through the courts.
For those who might poo-poo fears over the practical implications of the Bidenistas claiming power over AI… for skeptics who think, “Wellllll, it can’t be that bad…” here are the key clauses of the AIEO (or is that like Old MacDonald’s EIEIO?) Biden issued the day before Halloween.
First, and generally, Biden lets us know:
“This endeavor demands a society-wide effort that includes government, the private sector, academia, and civil society.”
Which also lets perceptive readers know he is engaging in fascism, which is the mixing of government and corporate/business power – directed, of course, by government, which claims the legal use of compulsion and owns the government guns they bought with our taxes.
Second, more specifically, we see that Biden says the feds have the omniscience and omnipotence to engage in:
“Testing and evaluations, including post-deployment performance monitoring…”
How DARE anyone think this should be up to the people who use AI sites and programs? How DARE those who don’t want to be involved in this strong-arming ask that Amtrak Joe leave them out of it and not take their taxes to “test and evaluate” anything? Who do those folks think they are, “free people”?
Third, there’s this, which is even more ominous:
“(M)y Administration will help develop effective labeling and content provenance mechanisms, so that Americans are able to determine when content is generated using AI and when it is not.”
Curious Executive Order readers might wonder how the federal government will monitor every piece of data we see and then offer a system of “labeling” its “content provenance.”
That requires a point-of-origin awareness and data tracking system by which the “provenance” actually is an identifier, connecting all data on the internet to those who released said data, and effectively eliminating all anonymity we might desire when it comes to sharing info. This long has been a goal of political collectivists and a number of big corporate interests tied to them, under the banner of the “Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity” (C2PA), which would incorporate IDs into all computer products and systematize online use to trace the “provenance” of the material we release online.
Not only would this allow government bureaucrats and shifty corporate minds at places like Google to continue engaging in suppression of messages and the people who offer them, it would allow complete blockage of those whose work is not “authenticated.”
Anyone who has seen the dystopian film, “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes,” knows what an “Authenticator” can do.
The Biden approach is similar in that it would allow the feds to interfere in AI creation – it would allow the federal government to be a party to the writing of the AI algorithm, which simply is an advanced and wide-reaching search-and-offer-result tool.
In fact, it’s not just what we might think of as “AI” for words and art and sound. The Biden EO for AI includes a claim of federal monitoring over "discrimination" themes as well as all biological research done with computers. In fact, the EO hints at claiming the capacity to monitor and create “standards” for any kind of computer-based, digitally-run program offered or used in the US.
Here’s one of Amtrak Joe’s lengthy, but extremely troubling, extremely telling, statements to sum up the vast and dangerous sweep of this “Order”:
“Developing Guidelines, Standards, and Best Practices for AI Safety and Security.
(a) Within 270 days of the date of this order, to help ensure the development of safe, secure, and trustworthy AI systems, the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in coordination with the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the heads of other relevant agencies as the Secretary of Commerce may deem appropriate, shall:
(i) Establish guidelines and best practices, with the aim of promoting consensus industry standards, for developing and deploying safe, secure, and trustworthy AI systems, including:
(A) developing a companion resource to the AI Risk Management Framework, NIST AI 100-1, for generative AI;
(B) developing a companion resource to the Secure Software Development Framework to incorporate secure development practices for generative AI and for dual-use foundation models; and
(C) launching an initiative to create guidance and benchmarks for evaluating and auditing AI capabilities, with a focus on capabilities through which AI could cause harm, such as in the areas of cybersecurity and biosecurity.”
Some might claim that the federal “development” of those “benchmarks” and “Best Practices” standards will not include forcing them onto developers.
To think such a thing is naïve. Any federal “standard” not only eats our tax cash to create it, it can play favorites with established big-wigs in the tech world. Additionally, such a “standard” for anything will inspire market participants to conform, just in case the feds move on them for “not maintaining appropriate (as defined by the feds) standards.”
And there is much more, but this ought to suffice as we look into the Biden AI abyss:
“4.2. Ensuring Safe and Reliable AI. (a) Within 90 days of the date of this order, to ensure and verify the continuous availability of safe, reliable, and effective AI in accordance with the Defense Production Act, as amended, 50 U.S.C. 4501 et seq., including for the national defense and the protection of critical infrastructure, the Secretary of Commerce shall require:
(i) Companies developing or demonstrating an intent to develop potential dual-use foundation models to provide the Federal Government, on an ongoing basis, with information, reports, or records regarding the following:
(A) any ongoing or planned activities related to training, developing, or producing dual-use foundation models, including the physical and cybersecurity protections taken to assure the integrity of that training process against sophisticated threats…”
“Dual-Use” is a term applied to tech that politicians claim can be used for “civilian or military purposes.” Which means anything. A letter or number can be applied to civilian or military use. And this, dear reader, means that the feds will be able to search any computer software developer’s programs – without warrants… to demand any records they please.
This Executive Order is not only another Executive Branch power-grab over the freedom of speech, and it not only insults the Founders, it threatens all of us. And it is not getting a lot of media attention.
It will be up to us to tell others, while we can.