During a meeting with science and technology advisers on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden raised concerns about the safety of artificial intelligence (AI) and urged technology companies to prioritize safety when developing and releasing AI products. While acknowledging the potential benefits of AI in tackling issues such as disease and climate change, Biden stressed the need to address possible risks to society, national security, and the economy.
“It is yet to be determined. There is a possibility,” Biden replied when asked about the potential hazards of AI. He cited the negative impact that powerful technologies can have in the absence of appropriate measures to protect against them, citing social media as an example. “Absent safeguards, we see the impact on the mental health and self-images and feelings and hopelessness, especially among young people,” he said.
Biden emphasized the importance of technology companies ensuring their products are secure before releasing them to the public. He called for the U.S. Congress to approve non-partisan privacy laws that limit the personal data gathered by technology firms, prohibit child-targeted advertising, and give priority to health and safety in product development.
In recent years, there has been growing concern about the potential risks associated with the development and use of AI. While AI has the potential to revolutionize many industries and address complex global issues, it also poses significant risks to society, including job displacement, bias, and the potential for unintended consequences.
The Center for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Policy, a technology ethics organization, recently urged the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to prevent OpenAI from releasing new commercial versions of GPT-4, a language model that has both impressed and alarmed users due to its human-like capacity to create written responses to prompts.
The debate over the safety of AI is likely to continue as technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. Biden’s call for technology firms to prioritize safety and for Congress to enact privacy laws that prioritize health and safety in product development is an important step towards ensuring that the benefits of AI are realized while minimizing the risks.