The rapid advancement in the development of artificial intelligence, or AI, has sparked legitimate and serious concerns about the potential impact and risks posed by that technology to a wide range of aspects of society and even humanity itself.
Those concerns may have been allayed or grown worse, depending upon one's perspective, following the recent announcement that President Joe Biden has essentially tasked Vice President Kamala Harris to serve as the administration's "AI czar" going forward, Breitbart reported.
Harris, who is deeply unpopular and has largely failed at the prior tasks assigned to her by the president, will seemingly play a lead role in the administration's plans to try and regulate the further development and public usage of AI technologies.
The White House released a "fact sheet" on Thursday with regard to "new actions that will further promote responsible American innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) and protect people’s rights and safety."
The release noted that in order to effectively "seize the opportunities" of AI while at the same time "mitigate its risks," the administration asserts that "we must place people and communities at the center by supporting responsible innovation that serves the public good, while protecting our society, security, and economy. Importantly, this means that companies have a fundamental responsibility to make sure their products are safe before they are deployed or made public."
One aspect of that effort is the allotment of $140 million in funding for the creation of seven new "National AI Research Institutes," which would bring the total number of NAIR Institutes across the nation to 25. Those institutes would work collaboratively with other public and private entities on "ethical, trustworthy, responsible" AI advancements and help bolster various research and development projects.
The release also called for a "public evaluation of AI systems" at a major upcoming technology conference that would allow for independent reviews and assessments of different AI systems to presumably find and correct potential issues and problems.
It was also announced that the White House Office of Management and Budget was working on draft policy proposals that would govern how different federal agencies and departments make use of AI in the future.
In conjunction with that "fact sheet" was a meeting on Thursday at the White House led by VP Harris that included several administration officials plus the CEOs of four leading AI developers -- Microsoft, Google, OpenAI, and Anthropic.
That meeting focused on three key areas of concern -- "the need for companies to be more transparent with policymakers, the public, and others about their AI systems; the importance of being able to evaluate, verify, and validate the safety, security, and efficacy of AI systems; and the need to ensure AI systems are secure from malicious actors and attacks."
Following that meeting, Harris released a statement that heralded how AI had "the potential to improve people’s lives and tackle some of society’s biggest challenges" but also warned that it could "dramatically increase threats to safety and security, infringe civil rights and privacy, and erode public trust and faith in democracy."
The vice president said, "Government, private companies, and others in society must tackle these challenges together. President Biden and I are committed to doing our part -- including by advancing potential new regulations and supporting new legislation -- so that everyone can safely benefit from technological innovations."
To be sure, some may welcome this news of the federal government's increased involvement in the development of AI technology as a good and necessary thing that will help erect barriers to mitigate the potential risks posed by the technology.
That said, given the Biden administration's track record in dealing with other issues, some may fear that federal involvement and regulatory action will only serve to hasten and ensure the frightening and dystopian prospects of an advanced AI that achieves independence and sentience and threatens to potentially wipe out all of humanity.