As someone deeply immersed in the world of artificial intelligence and its implications, I view the recent release of the White House Executive Order (EO) on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a significant moment. This landmark document, issued on October 30, 2023, takes a government-wide approach and encompasses a broad spectrum of topics on AI, including national security, the workforce, immigration, civil rights, foreign policy, healthcare, and public sector procurement.

Workday has long been an advocate for the responsible use of AI, championing the need for robust regulatory safeguards. Our support for responsible AI governance is consistent with many of the EO’s provisions, which comes at a time when there is a growing chorus of governments worldwide actively engaging in AI regulation discussions, notably the European Union's AI Act.

The EO is a culmination of the Biden Administration's ongoing efforts, including the White House's AI Bill of Rights and the Workday-supported National Institute of Standards and Technology AI Risk Management Framework (NIST AI RMF). It proposes concrete steps towards AI governance, emphasizes the importance of skills, and focuses on workable AI governance tools.

Workday is committed to playing a constructive role in various EO-driven initiatives and will maintain active engagement at the White House and agency level to help shape responsible AI policies. Within the EO, several key provisions hold significance for Workday, including:

  • Development of Guidelines, Standards, and Best Practices: The EO's mandate for the NIST to spearhead standards and best practice development is welcome and leverages NIST’s established track record of collaboration and effectiveness. Like many, Workday has enjoyed a strong partnership with NIST, including providing the first AI RMF case study. We look forward to continued collaboration. 

  • Federal AI Acquisition: As Workday grows our business in the federal market, we appreciate the Office of Management and Budget's recently released draft guidance on federal acquisition and usage of AI, specifically emphasizing risk-management practices, called for in the EO. Recognizing the critical importance of federal IT modernization, we plan on providing constructive input on the draft guidance to ensure federal agencies are able to utilize AI tools in a safe and responsible manner.

  • Support for a Skills-Based Approach: The EO’s encouragement for a skills-based approach to AI talent hiring matches Workday's own focus and that of an expanding list of state governments around the country. As we highlighted in recent Congressional testimony, we believe AI can enable U.S. workers and employers to better navigate future changes by taking a skills-based approach to talent to scale.

  • Recommendations for Congress from the Department of Labor: We eagerly await the Department of Labor's forthcoming policy recommendations on AI’s impact on workers and adaptation strategies. Workday has been working to highlight the importance of modernizing federal labor market data as key to helping workers have the information they need to succeed in the future of work with model legislation. In addition, we’ve partnered with the Future of Privacy Forum on the release of Best Practices for AI and Workplace Assessment Technologies that we hope will be helpful.

While the breadth of the EO is encouraging, it represents an ambitious agenda that will have to compete with a growing list of critical priorities that agencies are facing. We’re hopeful the most impactful aspects are targeted for near-term success. In addition, there’s a limit to the Administration's authority to regulate AI and implement safeguards, underscoring the need for congressional action to drive meaningful AI regulation that fosters trust and innovation. For example, Workday was glad to support the bipartisan Federal AI Risk Management Framework Act, put forward by Senator Moran (R-KS) and Senator Warner (D-VA) requiring federal agencies to adopt tools like the NIST AI RMF.

As we look to the future, Workday remains dedicated to playing a constructive and guiding role in the ever-evolving AI policy landscape. We’re ready to embrace this forward-looking approach, actively contribute to related initiatives, and engage with policymakers to promote responsible AI policies. As we navigate this transformative journey, it’s clear that the collaboration between industry and government is essential to ensure AI's responsible, safe, and secure development and deployment.

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