In the News: Manjeet Rege and John Abraham on President Biden’s Executive Order for AI

Manjeet Rege, software and data science professor, and John Abraham, mechanical engineering professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, both recently spoke with KSTP-TV about President Biden’s executive order on artificial intelligence. Rege also spoke with WCCO-TV, WCCO Radio and KARE 11 on the topic.

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The president Monday issued an executive order, calling for oversight on what ABC News calls a near half-trillion-dollar industry used by some of the nation’s largest companies, including Google and Amazon.

“They are trying to reduce some risk by asking companies to share their testing data, to use watermarks on documents and images that are created by AI,” explains John Abraham, an engineering professor at the University of St. Thomas, who says he uses AI in his research.

The order demands that companies share that data with the federal government before the new capabilities become available to the public.

The watermarks are to alert consumers when they encounter a product enabled by AI, like a deepfake.

“Something needed to be done,” declares Manjeet Rege, the director of the Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence at the University of St. Thomas. “Up until now, there were not any guardrails.”


President Biden on Monday signed an executive order with new AI privacy and safety standards. He is instructing the U.S. Department of Commerce to develop guidance for authenticating and clearly labeling AI content. 

Dr. Manjeet Rege, director of the Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence at University of St. Thomas, said safeguards regulating artificial intelligence like these are crucial because now the technology is widely available.

“To preserve our democracy, I think having AI laws is extremely important, so that both the good and the bad guys know the repercussions of misusing AI,” Rege said. “AI can do a lot of good, but we don’t want AI in the wrong hands where it does a lot of damage.”

From WCCO Radio:

“This executive order sets certain mandates and guidelines ... which really demonstrates a commitment to responsible and ethical AI development. The emphasis on safety and security standards, the privacy of consumers, and the overall proactive approach to anticipate potential issues is something that is really defining in this executive order.”

From KARE 11:

The executive order includes new safety assessments meant to protect consumers. That applies to everything from health care to trying to prevent deep fakes online.

“There are guidelines for AI watermarking. So if there is something that has been created by AI, there would be a watermark around it.”

Most AI experts welcome the move, saying it’s a good step in trying to keep up with the ever-changing technology.