Biden White House, tech companies launch new safeguards around emerging AI technology

President Joe Biden met with tech leaders Friday at the White House to highlight what he said are new, voluntary steps the companies are taking to step up safety and transparency around emerging AI technology.

Seven major AI companies — Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI — announced Friday they will commit to allowing outside security testing of their products, share data about managing the risks of AI with governments, civil society, and academia, and create a way to acknowledge content that’s created by their AI products with a digital watermark.

Ahead of his meeting with leaders from the companies, the president delivered short remarks, noting what he said was the promise and peril that AI poses for society.

“It is astounding, artificial intelligence, or – it promises, an enormous, enormous promise of both risk to our society and our economy and our national security, but it also incredible opportunities, incredible opportunities,” Biden said.

Reminding that he and Vice President Kamala Harris met with the leaders two months ago, Biden said “most of them are here again to underscore the responsibility and making sure that products that they are producing are safe and — and making them public what they are and what they aren’t.”

President Joe Biden speaks about artificial intelligence in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 2, 2023.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The steps are being taken voluntarily by the companies, and described by the White House as “”pushing the envelope on what companies are doing and raising the standards for safety, security and trust of AI.”

Still, Biden noted that more steps needed to be taken to ensure the safety of the emerging technology, calling for legislation in addition to executive action he can take to do so.

“These commitments, these commitments are a promising step, but that we have a lot more work to do together. Realizing the promise of AI, by managing the risk is gonna require some new laws, regulations, and oversight. In the weeks ahead, I’m gonna continue to take executive action to help America lead the way toward responsible innovation. And we’re going to work with both parties to develop appropriate legislation and regulation,” Biden said.

“This is a serious responsibility. We have to get it right. And there’s enormous, enormous potential upside as well,” he said.

PHOTO: Tech leaders listen as President Joe Biden gives remarks on Artificial Intelligence in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on July 21, 2023.

From left, CEO of Amazon Web Services Adam Selipsky, President of OpenAI Greg Brockman, President of Meta Nick Clegg, CEO of Inflection AI Mustafa Suleyman, CEO of Anthropic Dario Amodei, President of Google Kent Walker and Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith, listen as President Joe Biden gives remarks on Artificial Intelligence in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on July 21, 2023.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Biden alluded as well to efforts by his administration and Congress to regulate social media companies.

“Social media has shown us the harm that powerful technology can do without the right safeguards in place,” he said.

The president’s ramped-up push to rein in artificial intelligence comes as political campaigns are increasingly experimenting with its usage — and as concern mounts over its potential misuse. Experts have warned about misinformation spreading through the use of artificially generated images or videos, for instance.

The president alluded to that concern Friday — albeit lightheartedly.

Just before he entered the room, a reporter jokingly asked the assembled tech executives if they were real or artificially generated.

Poking his head in the room – after apparently overhearing the exchange – Biden smiled and said: “I’m the AI.”


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