President Joe Biden attended a White House meeting with CEOs of top artificial intelligence companies, including Alphabet's Google and Microsoft, on Thursday to discuss risks and safeguards as the technology catches the attention of governments and lawmakers globally.
Generative artificial intelligence has become a buzzword this year, with apps such as ChatGPT capturing the public's fancy, sparking a rush among companies to launch similar products they believe will change the nature of work.
Millions of users have begun testing such tools, which supporters say can make medical diagnoses, write screenplays, create legal briefs and debug software, leading to growing concern about how the technology could lead to privacy violations, skew employment decisions, and power scams and misinformation campaigns.
Biden, who "dropped by" the meeting, has also used ChatGPT, a White House official told Reuters. "He's been extensively briefed on ChatGPT and (has) experimented with it," said the official, who asked that they not be named.
Thursday's two-hour meeting which began at 11:45 am ET (09:15pm. IST), includes Google's Sundar Pichai, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, OpenAI's Sam Altman and Anthropic's Dario Amodei, along with Vice President Kamala Harris and administration officials including Biden's Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Director of the National Economic Council Lael Brainard and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
Harris said in a statement the technology has the potential to improve lives but could pose safety, privacy and civil rights concerns. She told the chief executives they have a "legal responsibility" to ensure the safety of their artificial intelligence products and that the administration is open to advancing new regulations and supporting new legislation on artificial intelligence.
Ahead of the meeting, OpenAI's Altman told reporters the White House wants to "get it right."
"It's good to try to get ahead of this," he said when asked if the White House was moving quickly enough on AI regulation. "It's definitely going to be a challenge, but it's one I'm sure we can handle."
The administration also announced a $140 million (nearly Rs. 1,150 crore) investment from the National Science Foundation to launch seven new AI research institutes and said the White House's Office of Management and Budget would release policy guidance on the use of AI by the federal government. Leading AI developers, including Anthropic, Google, Hugging Face, NVIDIA, OpenAI, and Stability AI, will participate in a public evaluation of their AI systems.
Shortly after Biden announced his reelection bid, the Republican National Committee produced a video featuring a dystopian future during a second Biden term, which was built entirely with AI imagery.
Such political ads are expected to become more common as AI technology proliferates.
United States regulators have fallen short of the tough approach European governments have taken on tech regulation and in crafting strong rules on deepfakes and misinformation.
"We don't see this as a race," the senior official said, adding that the administration is working closely with the US-EU Trade & Technology Council on the issue.
In February, Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to eliminate bias in their AI use. The Biden administration has also released an AI Bill of Rights and a risk management framework.
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division also said they would use their legal authorities to fight AI-related harm.
Tech giants have vowed many times to combat propaganda around elections, fake news about the COVID-19 vaccines, pornography and child exploitation, and hateful messaging targeting ethnic groups. But they have been unsuccessful, research and news events show.
© Thomson Reuters 2023
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