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White House urges tech bosses to prioritize public safety in AI development

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Tech leaders, including Sundar Pichai of Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, and Sam Altmann of OpenAI, were summoned to the White House on Thursday and urged to take responsibility for the risks posed by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The executives were told that they had a “moral” duty to ensure the safety and security of AI products, including generative AI like ChatGPT and Bard, which have captured the public’s imagination with their ability to write poetry and summarize information in seconds. The White House warned that it may regulate the sector further if companies fail to protect society adequately.

US Vice President Kamala Harris emphasized that AI products could pose a risk to safety, privacy, and civil rights while also having the potential to improve lives. She called on the private sector to take an “ethical, moral, and legal responsibility” to ensure the safety and security of their AI products. In response, Sam Altman of OpenAI expressed that executives were “surprisingly on the same page on what needs to happen” in terms of regulation.

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Concerns have been raised that AI could rapidly replace people’s jobs, lead to the dissemination of misinformation, flout copyright laws, and exacerbate fraud. Tech leaders and politicians have called for better regulation of AI to address these issues. However, some, like Bill Gates, believe that a “pause” on AI development would not solve the challenges ahead and that it would be better to focus on how to best use the technology.

The White House has announced a $140m investment to launch seven new AI research institutes. The Federal Trade Commission’s head, Lina Khan, has also outlined her views on how and why AI should be regulated. Despite calls for regulation, some believe there is a danger of over-regulating, which would give a strategic advantage to tech companies in China.

For the most part, the White House’s message to tech executives underscores the need for AI regulation and the importance of taking responsibility for the risks posed by AI products. While there are concerns over the potential negative impacts of AI, there is also recognition of its potential to improve lives. As the debate over AI regulation continues, it will be important to strike a balance between protecting society and enabling technological innovation.

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