The White House on Thursday announced its first new initiatives aimed at taming the risks of artificial intelligence since a boom in A.I.-powered chatbots has prompted growing calls to regulate the technology.
The National Science Foundation plans to spend $140 million on new research centers devoted to A.I., White House officials said. The administration also pledged to release draft guidelines for government agencies to ensure that their use of A.I. safeguards “the American people’s rights and safety,” adding that several A.I. companies had agreed to make their products available for scrutiny in August at a cybersecurity conference.
The announcements came hours before Vice President Kamala Harris and other administration officials were scheduled to meet with the chief executives of Google, Microsoft, OpenAI, the maker of the popular ChatGPT chatbot, and Anthropic, an A.I. start-up, to discuss the technology. A senior administration official said on Wednesday that the White House planned to impress upon the companies that they had a responsibility to address the risks of new A.I. developments.The White House has been under growing pressure to police A.I. that is capable of crafting sophisticated prose and lifelike images. The explosion of interest in the technology began last year when OpenAI released ChatGPT to the public and people immediately began using it to search for information, do schoolwork and assist them with their job. Since then, some of the biggest tech companies have rushed to incorporate chatbots into their products and accelerated A.I. research, while venture capitalists have poured money into A.I. start-ups.
But the A.I. boom has also raised questions about how the technology will transform economies, shake up geopolitics and bolster criminal activity. Critics have worried that many A.I. systems are opaque but extremely powerful, with the potential to make discriminatory decisions, replace people in their jobs, spread disinformation and perhaps even break the law on their own.