Biden says US needs to address concerns about AI

'AI is already driving ... change in every part of American life,' US President says

President Joe Biden discusses his administration’s commitment to address artificial intelligence in San Francisco, California. AFP
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US President Joe Biden convened a group of technology leaders on Tuesday to debate what he called the “risks and enormous promises” of artificial intelligence.

“We'll see more technological change in the next 10 years than we've seen in the last 50 years,” Mr Biden said during a meeting with industry experts in San Francisco, California.

“AI is already driving that change in every part of American life.”

The sudden emergence of AI chatbot ChatGPT and other tools has jump-started investment in the sector. AI tools are able to craft humanlike text, music, images and computer code.

This form of automation could increase the productivity of workers, but experts warn of numerous risks.

The technology could be used to replace workers, causing layoffs. It is already being used to create false images and videos, becoming a vehicle of disinformation that could undermine democratic elections.

Several world governments including the EU have said they are determined to regulate and put brakes on AI before it is too late.

Mr Biden said social media has already shown the harm technology can do “without the right safeguards in place”.

A White House official interviewed by Bloomberg characterised AI as a top priority for the President as the use of generative AI tools has exploded in recent months.

White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients is overseeing efforts to develop additional steps the administration can take on AI in the coming weeks, according to the White House official.

Mr Zients earlier this month said AI companies were working with the administration and would unveil privacy and security commitments in the near future – an effort spurred by worries that the continuing regulatory process may work too slowly to address emerging technologies.

“My administration is committed is committed to safeguarding America's rights and safety and protecting privacy to address advice and misinformation and making sure AI systems are safe before they are released,” Mr Biden said.

The AI revolution: What does our future look like?

The AI revolution: What does our future look like?

One of Mr Biden’s top artificial intelligence advisers, Alexander Macgillivray, who helped write the President’s proposal for an AI Bill of Rights, left the administration this month.

The Federal Trade Commission says it is also monitoring the use of artificial intelligence tools.

Ahead of the meeting, major AI companies, including Microsoft and Alphabet’s Google, committed to participating in the first independent public evaluation of their systems.

But the administration is also seeking a broader regulatory push, with the Commerce Department saying earlier this year that it was considering rules that could require AI models to go through a certification process before release.

“We remain committed to fostering responsible AI to benefit society” and “working to mitigate the risk”, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One on the way to California on Monday.

“This administration, as you know, has been very clear about the risk associated with AI, which is why we have been – we have been very committed to doing that.”

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: June 20, 2023, 9:56 PM