Artificial Intelligence

Joe Biden Pressures Tech Giants to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

On Friday, President Joe Biden expressed a commitment to overseeing the development of artificial intelligence (AI) “responsibly and securely” during a meeting at the White House with tech giants, who pledged to combat cyberattacks and fraud.

Artificial intelligence holds a massive promise for incredible opportunities, but it also poses risks to our society, economy, and national security,” said the U.S. President.

Alongside leaders from Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI, Biden asserted that “the group here will be critical in guiding this innovation responsibly and securely.”

These seven companies committed themselves to respect “three principles that must be fundamental to the development of artificial intelligence“, namely safety, security, and trust. Biden praised their commitment to “drive responsible innovation.

We’ll see more technological changes in the next 10 years or even the next few years than we’ve seen in the past 50 years. This has been an astonishing revelation for me,” expressed the Democratic President.

Election of 2024

But fears related to this powerful technology are intensifying, from dangers to consumers (fraud) and citizens (misinformation) to the risk of significant job losses.

In practice, these seven companies promised to test their software internally and externally before launching it. They also committed to investing in cybersecurity and sharing relevant information about their tools, including potential vulnerabilities, with authorities and researchers.

They also must “develop robust techniques to ensure that users know when content has been generated by AI, like a watermarking system,” added the White House.

So far, the main companies involved have been rather reluctant to add such marks to the content created with their programs.

Fake photos and refined montages (“deepfakes“) have existed for years, but generative AI, capable of producing text and images on a simple natural language request, raises fears of an onslaught of fake content online.

This can be used to create highly credible scams or manipulate public opinion—a particularly worrying prospect in the run-up to the 2024 US presidential election.

“Activate All Levers”

Ron DeSantis’ support committee, a major rival of Donald Trump in the race for the Republican nomination, has already used a fake voice generated by artificial intelligence in an advertisement that closely resembles that of the former president.

We need to activate all levers of the federal government in order to regulate” this sector and “work” with Congress to legislate, said the White House Chief of Staff, Jeff Zients, to Axios news site.

He added that a law is needed to have expertise within the federal government and “have the regulatory authority to hold the private sector accountable for its actions.

The current political tensions in Congress—where Republicans hold the House—make the adoption of new AI laws unlikely in the immediate future, but the government indicated it is working on a decree regarding safety in this area.

The industry commitments obtained by the Biden administration are “an important first step,” according to Paul Barrett, deputy director of the Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University.

But as they are not subject to penalties for non-compliance, it is vital that Congress pass laws quickly,” he added.

The White House also assured that it is working with allies abroad to seek “a robust international framework to govern the development and use of AI” globally.

The topic was at the forefront during the G7 in Japan in May, and the UK is preparing to host an international summit on AI, probably next fall.