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Tech giants commit to Biden administration-brokered AI safety rules

Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI have made voluntary commitments to ensure their products are safe.
Tech giants commit to Biden administration-brokered AI safety rules
Posted at 3:37 AM, Jul 21, 2023

President Joe Biden hosted seven tech companies at the White House Friday with the goal of making Artificial Intelligence safer.

The companies—Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI—have made voluntary commitments to ensure their products are safe for consumers prior to launch.

These "companies are committing to do the work that starts focusing much more intensely on safety and security, and trust. This is one step along the way," Arati Prabhakar, Ph.D., Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, told Scripps News. "You'll see more as we sort out what we need to do in the executive branch. And we continue to work with Congress as they sort out what they're going to do on legislation, as well."

One of those promises is a commitment to internal and external security testing—meaning allowing third-party, independent experts to review AI cybersecurity.

"I think that's a very important step," Prabhakar said. "There are other fields where that happens [where] it's been very helpful, but I think it's going to be very constructive for A.I."

It is unclear, however, how that mechanism will work.

The companies also committed to sharing information within industry, government, and academia, as well as investing in cybersecurity and insider threat safeguards, in addition to mechanisms to ensure consumers know when a product is AI-generated and publicly reporting system limitations.

Biden stated that he will be using executive action and working with Congress in the weeks ahead so the U.S. can "lead the way in responsible innovation."

SEE MORE: Google is testing AI tool 'Genesis' that can write news articles

The administration says they hope to see more companies, even the entire industry, move toward these commitments, which are totally voluntary and without an enforcement mechanism. But what the Biden team sees as a first step in ensuring the advancing technology is safe and secure.

"This is just the part that the companies are going to do, and as we move to the next part of our work, that's going to focus on an executive order that the president will be considering," Prabhakar noted. "These are the actions that he can take across the executive branch under the laws that already exist. But these are places that we can beef up the ability to deal with fraud and cybercrime to build capacity."

The White House pointed to previous actions taken by the FCC, CFPB, and Justice Department back in April, warning that new technologies are still subject to existing laws.

"There is no AI exemption to the laws on the books, and the FTC will vigorously enforce the law to combat unfair or deceptive practices or unfair methods of competition," FTC Chair Lina M. Khan said in April.

The president's announcement comes as the New York Times reported Thursday that Google is in talks with news organizations to write articles, and multiple class action lawsuits have been filed against different AI companies over the material they use to train the AI systems.


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