Biden: AI can help with difficult challenges, but risks must be addressed

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President Biden believes that AI can help solve some of the world’s most difficult challenges, but says that risks to society, the economy, and national security must be addressed.

In a meeting on Tuesday with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, President Biden said that “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.”

Biden’s comments came just a week after over 1,000 experts – including Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak – released an open letter calling for a “pause” on large-scale AI development. The letter was released by the Future of Life Institute, an organisation dedicated to reducing the risk of “existential threats” caused by new technologies.

While the President did not directly mention the institute’s letter, he did highlight the White House’s blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, which was proposed in October 2022. The bill aims to ensure that essential protections are built into AI systems from the start to protect Americans’ rights, safety, and privacy.

During the meeting, Biden reiterated his commitment to responsible innovation, appropriate guardrails, and protecting the privacy rights of Americans. He emphasised that tech companies have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe before making them available to the public.

Biden also stated that Congress should pass bipartisan privacy legislation to limit the personal data that tech companies collect on individuals, ban targeted advertising to children, and require companies to prioritise health and safety in the development of their products.

When asked by a reporter whether he thinks AI is dangerous, Biden replied: “It remains to be seen. It could be.”

President Biden’s remarks on AI underscore the importance of balancing the potential benefits of new technologies with their potential risks. His emphasis on responsible innovation and protecting Americans’ rights and safety is an essential reminder that AI must be developed and used with care.

The blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights is a step in the right direction towards ensuring that the benefits of AI are realised while minimising the technology’s potential risks.

Related: AI think tank calls GPT-4 a risk to public safety

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