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Biden’s AI Executive Order: Biotech Unleashed
Biden’s AI Executive Order – In a move that is sure to spark excitement and debate, President Joe Biden has unleashed his executive prowess to usher in a new era of artificial intelligence (AI) that is Guaranteed safety and reliable. This historic executive order comes at a time when technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace penetrating many industries and creating regulatory challenges that will ultimately impact millions of Americans. The order has been issued. One particular field that stands to be transformed by this AI revolution is healthcare and biotechnology, which has long relied on AI innovation to bolster a system deemed by over 70% of Americans as failing.
Biden’s AI executive order, replete with references to healthcare and its various services mentioned a staggering 33 times, represents a groundbreaking first step taken by the federal government. Unsurprisingly, healthcare takes center stage in these discussions. “To protect consumers while ensuring that AI can make American society better, the president has directed the following actions: Advancing responsible AI usage in healthcare services and the development of affordable life-saving medications,” declared the Biden administration.
This endeavor aims to bridge the gap and lay the foundation for a future blueprint in drug development and patient care where faulty algorithms are unlikely to impede the process of creating new medications or perpetuate biases towards specific patient groups. The response from industry players has been guarded thus far. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization—the largest biopharmaceutical trade organizations in the US—stated in an email that they are currently analyzing the full implications of the executive order and gathering input from their members regarding recommendations to the government. “PhRMA looks forward to engaging with the government and other stakeholders in advancing a regulatory framework that supports the safe and appropriate use of AI,” said a PhRMA spokesperson.
This is undoubtedly an effort that requires time and extensive debate, especially given the prominent role AI already plays in the healthcare industry. Drug manufacturers have been utilizing AI and machine learning for years to uncover new biological targets for experimental treatments. Doctors and hospitals also rely on algorithms to guide patient care, from diagnoses to bed allocations, with 30% of US radiology departments utilizing AI to take the first step in interpreting X-ray and MRI images to detect anomalies like cancerous tumors.
In the realm of drug development, technology giants ranging from Apple to Google are collaborating with academic institutions and some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies to gather real-time evidence—such as biometrics and other data collected outside of clinical trials—through wearable devices. This data is vital for drug development and gaining insights into patient care. However, it raises concerns regarding medical privacy, a pivotal factor in regulating AI and how one’s personal information can be utilized by the industry.
A constellation of stakeholders in biotechnology and medicine will carefully consider what they perceive to be the proper balance between safeguarding public safety and privacy versus hindering AI-driven innovation. The federal government must also tackle this challenge as the executive order directs the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a “safety program to receive reports—and take action to remediate—unsafe healthcare practices or hazards involving AI,” in addition to creating a National AI Research Resource to align best practices and healthcare data based on the proposed AI Bill of Rights put forth by the Biden administration.
It will undoubtedly take decades to fully realize the vision set forth in these plans. Nevertheless, the groundwork has officially been laid for the future of AI in biotechnology and healthcare. As this transformative era dawns upon us, let us engage in spirited debates and embrace the power of witty innovation that promises to reshape our understanding of medicine and elevate society as a whole.