AFT’s Weingarten on President Biden’s Pathbreaking Executive Order on AI
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the Biden administration issued a sweeping executive order on the use and regulation of artificial intelligence.
“This is a game-changer—and it comes at exactly the right time. President Joe Biden has stepped up and shown real leadership in the face of both the limitless opportunities and the existential threat posed by AI.
“With any new technology, regulation and growth are two sides of the same coin. The immense potential of AI can only be realized responsibly, and this executive order takes concrete steps to embed that ethos from the federal government on down. Appropriate regulation and transparency will mean that people, not machines, are in charge in America.
“This executive order erects meaningful guardrails that will uphold individual rights and set standards on data privacy, cybersecurity, discrimination, and fairness. It pushes government agencies to lead by example by thoughtfully and sensibly embracing AI in the workplace. It encourages a just transition to the AI economy and positions our nation to maintain its competitive edge.
“Most importantly, it’s based on the premise that if we want to harness AI’s promise, it must be driven by frontline workers—including educators, healthcare professionals and public employees, who gave meaningful input into today’s order.
“We learned a lesson from the vast latitude granted to social media companies—and the resulting disinformation and mental health crises—that government has a duty to protect people as new innovations are launched. And while it’s important for Congress to act, the Biden administration understands that time is of the essence.
“I congratulate the president, and I was honored to be in attendance at today’s signing.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.