Akayla Gardner and Jennifer Jacobs
(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden said his administration wants to ensure that artificial intelligence systems are safe before they reach the public as he met business leaders and experts to discuss new safeguards for the emerging technology.
US President Joe Biden exits Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, US, on Friday, June 16, 2023. Biden traveled to Connecticut to speak at the National Safer Communities Summit, a gathering of the nations leading gun-reform organizations.
“In seizing this moment, we need to manage the risks to our society, to our economy and our national security,” Biden said in San Francisco on Tuesday. He said he was committed to “making sure AI systems are safe before they are released.”
The president reiterated his calls for Congress to pass bipartisan privacy legislation.
“Social media has already shown us the harm that powerful technology can do without the right safeguards in place. That’s why I said in the State of Union that the Congress needs to pass bipartisan privacy legislation to impose strict limits on personal data collection, ban targeted advertising to our children, and require companies to put health and safety first,” Biden said.
The administration is pushing companies to develop new privacy and security protections for consumers as the use of technologies such as generative AI has exploded in recent months.
Those meeting with Biden included Sal Khan, the CEO of Khan Academy Inc.; Common Sense Media CEO Jim Steyer; Tristan Harris, executive director of the Center for Humane Technology; Oren Etzioni, former CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence; Fei-Fei Li, co-director of Stanford University’s Human-Centered AI Institute; Joy Buolamwini, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League; Jennifer Doudna, a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley; and Stanford political science professor Rob Reich.
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 a White House official.
Zients earlier this month said AI companies are working with the administration to unveil privacy and security commitments in the near future, an effort spurred by worries that the ongoing regulatory process may work too slow to address emerging technologies.
Biden on Tuesday said that Vice President Kamala Harris next month would convene civil rights and consumer protection groups to discuss AI concerns.
Earlier: AI Firms Plan New Privacy Commitments Soon, White House Says
The administration’s effort has also sought to enlist major AI players.
Biden and Harris met in May at the White House with the leaders of top firms, including CEOs Sam Altman of OpenAI Inc., Dario Amodei of Anthropic, Microsoft Corp.’s Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet Inc.
Companies, including Microsoft and Alphabet’s Google, have committed to participating in the first independent public evaluation of their systems. But the administration is also seeking a broader regulatory push. The Commerce Department said earlier this year it was considering rules that could require AI models to go through a certification process before release.
The Federal Trade Commission says it’s also monitoring the use of artificial intelligence tools and the technology has attracted the scrutiny of Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday will deliver an address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington outlining “his vision for how the Senate can harness AI’s potential and protect our society from its potential harms,” according to a statement from his office.
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