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Biden meets with AI leaders to discuss its 'enormous promise and its risks'

Casey Harper

(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden held an event in California Tuesday to discuss the future of artificial intelligence and what regulations may be enacted to rein it in.

Biden hosted the meeting with federal officials, AI experts and governors to discuss “AI’s enormous promise and its risks.”

“As I’ve said before, we will see more technological change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 50 years, and maybe even beyond that,” Biden told reporters at the event at a San Francisco hotel.

“AI is already driving that change in every part of American life, often in ways that we don’t notice,” Biden said. “AI is already making it easier to search the internet, helping us drive to our destinations while avoiding traffic in real time.”

Biden gave a nod to the “risks to our society, our economy and our national security.” In October of last year, Biden released an “AI Bill of Rights.” He also signed an executive order earlier this year to fight “bias” in the design of AI.

While advanced AI has the ability to operate independently from its designers once it is set up, those designers can build certain biases or political slants into how the AI processes information and responds to requests.

Biden pointed to this as an opportunity for spreading misinformation. After giving his remarks, he asked media to leave the room for the official meeting.

Biden held the event after the release of ChatGPT, a new technology where users can interact with artificial intelligence in a more significant way. The technology was considered a major breakthrough for AI and spread quickly in popularity in part because of its ability to apparently think creatively and do things like write entire elaborate poems in just seconds.

The breakthrough has resurfaced concerns that AI could be used for an array of harmful purposes, ranging from malicious use from foreign powers or companies to indirect consequences like lost jobs. Experts say AI could also begin acting in interests contrary to its creators and humans in general, even without its creators being aware of it.

Billionaire Elon Musk, who helped found the company that later created ChatGPT after his exit, has called for a pause in the development of AI until regulations are enacted. He echoed that sentiment during a Twitter Spaces event as part of a Viva Technology conference last week.

“We could have a potentially catastrophic outcome," Musk said, adding that while AI’s impact will likely be positive, “we need to minimize the possibility that something could go wrong with digital superintelligence.”

Last month, Biden met with Alphabet, Anthropic, Microsoft, and OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT. The White House said in a statement that the meeting was to “underscore this responsibility and emphasize the importance of driving responsible, trustworthy, and ethical innovation with safeguards that mitigate risks and potential harms to individuals and our society.”

Last month's meeting coincided with the White House’s announcement of $140 million in AI research and development funding to be made available through the National Science Foundation.