Vice President Kamala Harris stumbled her way through a discussion about artificial intelligence (AI) with civil rights and consumer protection experts on Wednesday.
The roundtable discussion aimed to discuss a broad range of AI impacts and the potential threats posed to “vulnerable” populations, such as senior citizens and minority groups. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in February that requires AI to be regulated so that it advances “equity in support of all those who face overlapping discrimination and bias.”
Leaders at the discussion sat in silence as Harris explained that AI is “two letters” and stands for artificial intelligence.
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“The first part of this issue that should be articulated is AI is kind of a fancy thing. First of all, it’s two letters. It means artificial intelligence,” Harris said. “It’s about machine learning.”
“The machine is taught, and part of the issue here is what information is going into the machine, that will then determine — and we can predict then, if we think about what information is going in – what then will be produced, in terms of decisions and opinions that may be made through that process,” said Harris.
Harris has been spearheading efforts to rally tech companies around Biden administration initiatives to bring “equity” to AI and ensure it protects “people’s rights.”
One issue that was “a very big concern” for Harris was “misinformation and disinformation” stemming from AI use, as well as the threat it could pose to “basic human rights.” Harris also stated that the technology poses a risk to senior citizens who could fall for “predatory” AI-generated scams, and to minority groups based on race, disability, or socioeconomic status.
Besides senior citizens, Harris did not clarify why the other minority groups she named would be “vulnerable” to AI technology.
“Innovation has so much possibility to improve the condition of human life. And to the extent that we can encourage that approach, we should,” Harris said. “We should not dampen or in any way slow down innovation that can improve the condition of people’s lives. And we must also ensure that in that process we are not trampling on people’s rights.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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