On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden held a meeting with his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to discuss the potential risks and opportunities associated with the rapid advancements in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
In the meeting, Biden said, “AI can help deal with some very difficult challenges like disease and climate change, but we also have to address the potential risks to our society, to our economy, to our national security.”
According to reports from the White House, during the meeting, Biden emphasized the significance of safeguarding rights and safety to promote responsible innovation and stressed the importance of having appropriate safeguards in place. He also reiterated his call for Congress to pass legislation that would protect children and reduce the amount of data collected by technology firms.
AI has recently gained prominence in national and global conversations, thanks in part to the release of the popular ChatGPT AI chatbot. Its success has spurred a race among tech giants to unveil similar tools, while also raising ethical and societal concerns about technology that can generate convincing prose or imagery that appears to be the work of humans.
Biden’s statements were made approximately a week after an open letter was published by the Future of Life Institute, an organization focused on studying existential risks and signed by individuals such as Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak. The letter suggested a six-month “pause” on large-scale AI development.
Although Biden did not explicitly reference the open letter signed by Musk, Wozniak, and others, he did bring up the White House’s proposal for an AI Bill of Rights. He also emphasized the responsibility that tech companies have to ensure the safety of their products before releasing them to the public.
“Last October, we proposed a bill of rights — a bill of rights to ensure the important protections are built into the AI systems from the start, not have to go back to do it,” he said. “And I look forward to today’s discussion about ensuring responsible innovation and appropriate guardrails to protect America’s rights and safety, and protecting their privacy, and to address the bias and disinformation that is possible as well.”
When asked by a reporter whether he thinks AI is dangerous, Biden replied “It remains to be seen. It could be.”