New AI Training Requirement for Certain Federal Government Employees

On October 17, 2022, President Biden signed into law the AI Training Act (the “Act”). The purported purpose of the Act is to ensure the federal government’s workforce has knowledge of how artificial intelligence (AI) works, AI’s benefits, and AI’s risks.

The Act requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish or otherwise provide AI training for federal government agency employees responsible for: program management; planning, research, development, engineering, testing, and evaluation of systems; procurement and contracting; logistics; and cost estimating.  The OMB has one year to establish the training program, which must cover the following broad topics:

  • the science underlying AI, including how AI works;
  • introductory concepts relating to the technological features of AI systems;
  • the ways in which AI can benefit the federal government;
  • the risks posed by AI, including discrimination and risks to privacy;
  • ways to mitigate the risks, including efforts to create and identify AI that is reliable, safe, and trustworthy; and
  • future trends in AI, including trends for homeland and national security and innovation.

While this Act creates an additional burden on the federal government employees, the AI training should help reduce the risk that AI will be misused by the federal government. The OMB is required to update the training at least every two years and ensure there is a way to understand and measure the participation of the workforce and to receive and consider feedback from program participants.

The Act imposes no required action on private employers or federal government contractors. To the extent employers sell AI-related products or services to the federal government or otherwise provide staffing services that leverage AI, after the AI training is implemented, these contractors may interact with better-informed federal government employees in bidding on and providing AI-related software, products, and services.

Until the OMB develops its AI training, which could be as late as fall 2023, we do not know the specific content and nuances of the AI training. However, in the interim, contractors should continue to monitor and evaluate  AI software and services for discrimination and risks of privacy.

The passage of the Act, considered in the context of the White House’s AI Bill of Rights and the EEOC Guidance on AI and ADA, highlights the federal government’s ongoing commitment to regulating the use of AI in situations that affect employees.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.