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White House Announces Artificial Intelligence Vows From Big Tech; Experts Are Unimpressed

The White House released a list of promises by seven top technology firms to “manage the risks” of artificial intelligence (AI) on Friday, but experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation they would not have a significant impact.
by Jason Cohen, DCNF, TFP File Photo

The White House released a list of promises by seven top technology firms to “manage the risks” of artificial intelligence (AI) on Friday, but experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation they would not have a significant impact.

Seven Big Tech companies — Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI — made immediate “voluntary commitments” to promote responsible AI development focusing on “three principles that must be fundamental to the future of AI – safety, security, and trust,” according to the White House fact sheet.

These commitments are only a symbolic victory or a decent starting point and will not be meaningfully effective, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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“It’s a good place to start, as the industry is moving faster than formal regulation can keep up,” senior economist at the Foundation for American Innovation Samuel Hammond told the DCNF.

The voluntary commitments include issuing public reports on AI’s “capabilities, limitations, and areas of appropriate and inappropriate use,” like its impacts on “fairness and bias,” according to the fact sheet. Another commitment is to conduct research on preventing AI risks, including “harmful bias and discrimination, and protecting privacy.”

According to the fact sheet, there is also a commitment to develop AI systems to help solve societal issues like cancer and climate change.

Hammond was not optimistic that these commitments would be a long-term solution to tackling the risks of AI and said that “this at best buys the industry and lawmakers time to find a consensus on which rules of the road will require the force of law.”

Jake Denton, a research associate at The Heritage Foundation’s Tech Policy Center, told the DCNF that these commitments would not influence AI companies.

“Everything will continue on essentially as normal,” Denton said. “This voluntary commitment is toothless. There’s really no indication of the enforcement … This is a potential victory lap moment for the Biden-Harris administration. They’re going to tout their accomplishments on AI to the end of the day, and this really does nothing.”

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On June 19, the day before Biden’s Silicon Valley roundtable with AI critics, the president attended a fundraiser hosted by Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott, according to Reuters. 

Microsoft is a multibillion-dollar backer of OpenAI, the maker of the popular AI chatbot ChatGPT.

“It’s a pretty clear signal to the American people that Microsoft will determine the fate of their own technology,” Denton said. “It’s very obvious they’re calling the shots and the Biden administration just along for the ride.”

The Biden administration is also planning to develop an executive order and seek bipartisan legislation to “help America lead the way in responsible innovation” regarding AI, according to the fact sheet.

“I think that that’s where we see the left working … they get one bite at the apple and they’re just going to keep going,” Charles Sauer, founder and president of the Market Institute, told the DCNF.

Rather than Big Tech influencing the Biden administration, Sauer told the DCNF he sees it “as kind of the government strong-arming these companies.”

“I think that realistically what we need as a country is the separation of tech and state,” he said. “We need to keep the government out of new innovations and that’s how we’re going to see growth.”

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