White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre held a news briefing on Monday as President Joe Biden signs an executive order to guide the development of artificial intelligence.
The order will require industry to develop safety and security standards, introducing new consumer protections and giving federal agencies an extensive to-do list to oversee the rapidly progressing technology.
The order reflects the government’s effort to shape how AI evolves in a way that can maximize its possibilities and contain its perils. AI has been a source of deep personal interest for Biden, with its potential to affect the economy and national security.
White House chief of staff Jeff Zients recalled Biden giving his staff a directive to move with urgency on the issue, having considered the technology a top priority.
“We can’t move at a normal government pace,” Zients said the Democratic president told him. “We have to move as fast, if not faster than the technology itself.”
In Biden’s view, the government was late to address the risks of social media and now U.S. youth are grappling with related mental health issues. AI has the positive ability to accelerate cancer research, model the impacts of climate change, boost economic output and improve government services among other benefits. But it could also warp basic notions of truth with false images, deepen racial and social inequalities and provide a tool to scammers and criminals.
The order builds on voluntary commitments already made by technology companies. It’s part of a broader strategy that administration officials say also includes congressional legislation and international diplomacy, a sign of the disruptions already caused by the introduction of new AI tools such as ChatGPT that can generate new text, images and sounds.
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