US President Joe Biden has enacted an expansive executive order on artificial intelligence (AI), underscoring the imperative for companies to disclose potential perils linked to their AI systems that could be exploited by nations or terrorists to craft weapons of mass destruction. While the order predominantly centers on safety and security protocols, it encompasses provisions aimed at nurturing AI development in the United States. These provisions encompass endeavors to allure foreign talent to American enterprises and research laboratories, further augmenting the nation’s AI arsenal. As part of this strategy, the Biden administration seeks to leverage the skills of highly adept immigrants and nonimmigrants in critical areas, allowing them to reside, study, and labor in the United States more efficiently by streamlining the visa interview and review process.
One of the notable advantages offered by this executive order is the reduction in processing times and associated costs, enhancing convenience for STEM students and scholars. STEM students will no longer be mandated to return to their home countries for brief visa interviews at embassies, and this directive affords them the flexibility to attend international conferences and engage in travel without concerns about visa renewal.
This directive is expected to positively impact over 500,000 H-1B visa holders, allowing them to transition into new positions more easily and with predictability, certitude in the renewal process, and improved flexibility to apply their skills. This modification has the potential to influence nearly 450,000 international students, especially those engaged in optional practical training, a significant proportion of whom possess advanced degrees, contributing significantly to the STEM field.
Additionally, the directive aims to align the skills list with the evolving global labor market needs, offering thousands of highly skilled J-1 visa holders the opportunity to apply for other visa categories without the need to return to their countries of origin. This modification is poised to have a substantial impact on STEM professionals, particularly from China and India, thereby addressing critical skill gaps in AI and other fields.
Overall, the executive order on AI embodies a comprehensive strategy to bolster the United States’ AI capabilities, emphasizing safety and security while also prioritizing the attraction and retention of foreign talent to advance the nation’s AI endeavors.