U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday it remains to be seen whether artificial intelligence (AI) is dangerous, but underscored that technology companies had a responsibility to ensure their products were safe before making them public.
Biden told science and technology advisers that AI could help in addressing disease and climate change, but it was also important to address potential risks to society, national security and the economy.
“Tech companies have a responsibility, in my view, to make sure their products are safe before making them public,” he said at the start of a meeting of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). When asked if AI was dangerous, he said, “It remains to be seen. It could be.”
He spoke on the same day his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, surrendered in New York over charges stemming from a probe into hush money paid to a porn star.
Biden declined to comment on Trump’s legal woes, and Democratic strategists say his focus on governing will create a politically advantageous split screen of sorts as his former rival, a Republican, deals with his legal challenges.
The president said social media had already illustrated the harm that powerful technologies can do without the right safeguards.
« Absent safeguards, we see the impact on the mental health and self-images and feelings and hopelessness, especially among young people, » Biden said.
He reiterated a call for Congress to pass bipartisan privacy legislation to put limits on personal data that technology companies collect, ban advertising targeted at children, and to prioritize health and safety in product development.