Tech Execs have a moral duty with AI – Biden

CEOs of major tech companies in the United States have been urged to ensure artificial intelligence (AI) is not harmful to society. The two-hour meeting, held at the White House, was attended by executives from Google, Microsoft, OpenAI and Anthropic. They were invited by US Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss the development and regulation of AI. US President Joe Biden, who briefly attended the meeting, emphasised the importance of the work the companies were carrying out, stating it had “enormous potential and enormous danger”.

At the meeting, Harris made it clear that tech firms “must comply with existing laws to protect the American people” and “ensure the safety and security of their products”. The discussion included the need for greater transparency between tech firms and the government about their AI technology. It also focused on ensuring the safety of products and protecting them from malicious attacks.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman spoke to reporters after the meeting and said that they were “surprisingly on the same page on what needs to happen”. The meeting comes as the Biden administration announced a $140m investment in seven new AI research institutes, an independent committee to carry out public assessments of existing AI systems and plans for guidelines on the use of AI by the federal government.

The rapid advancement in AI has generated excitement in the tech industry, but it has also raised concerns about social harm and the possibility of the technology eventually slipping out of developers’ control. AI is already involved in numerous controversies, including fake news, non-consensual pornography and the case of a Belgian man who reportedly took his own life following encouragement by an AI-powered chatbot.

In a Stanford University survey of 327 natural language-processing experts last year, more than one-third of researchers said they believed AI could lead to a “nuclear-level catastrophe”. In March, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak were among 1,300 signatories of an open letter calling for a six-month pause on training AI systems, as they felt “powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable”.

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