US vice president gathers top tech CEOs to discuss dangers of AI

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Vice President Kamala Harris gathered the heads of several AI development firms to discuss potential risks posed by the budding technology.

The vice president of the United States and President Joe Biden’s top advisers have held a meeting with several AI industry CEOs to discuss “concerns about the risks associated with AI.”

On May 4, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris was joined by nine top Biden administration advisers in science, national security, policy and economics, meeting with the CEOs of OpenAI, Microsoft, Google and AI startup Anthropic.

Notably, tech giant Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was absent from the meeting.

Before the meeting, the White House released a flurry of AI-related announcements regarding the funding of AI research facilities, government AI policy and AI systems evaluation.

The meeting focused on the transparency of AI systems, the importance of evaluating and validating the safety of AI and ensuring AI is secured from malicious actors, according to the announcement.

Reportedly, the government and the tech CEOs agreed “more work is needed to develop and ensure appropriate safeguards and protections” for AI.

The CEOs committed to engaging with the White House to ensure Americans can “benefit from AI innovation.” No specific details were shared on what safeguards were needed or what the engagement with the government exactly entails.

Zuckerberg was absent from the meeting despite Meta working on AI for years. A White House official told CNN, “It was focused on companies currently leading in the space.”

The Biden administration also highlighted its work to address national security concerns posed by AI, specifically mentioning cybersecurity and biosecurity, without going into specifics.

It said these efforts would ensure AI firms “have access to best practices” to protect AI networks from state cybersecurity experts from the “national security community.”

White House banks big on AI

On the same day, the Biden Administration announced it would put aside $140 million to launch seven new national AI research institutes, bringing the total to 25 across the country.

“These Institutes bolster America’s AI [research and development] infrastructure,” the White House said. It added the institutes would “drive breakthroughs” in areas such as “climate, agriculture, energy, public health, education, and cybersecurity.”

Related: Google DeepMind CEO: We may have AGI ‘in the next few years’

In a separate announcement, the government said AI development firms including Anthropic, Google, Microsoft, OpenAI, NVIDIA, Hugging Face and Stability AI will also participate in publicly evaluating AI systems on a platform from AI training firm Scale AI at the hacker convention DEFCON in August.

Finally, the White House said it would release a draft policy on how the U.S. government will use AI, which will be will be made available for public comment this summer.

Policies around the development, use and procurement of AI by federal departments and agencies will be drafted. It said the policies would be a model for state and local governments in their own procurement and use of AI.

Related: AI Eye: ‘Biggest ever’ leap in AI, cool new tools, AIs are the real DAOs

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