In a speech he gave in front of world leaders this week, President Joe Biden issued a warning about the power of artificial intelligence, and called on his colleagues to regulate AI so it doesn’t “govern us.”
Biden was speaking at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, which was held this week in New York. While emerging technologies such as AI have incredible power to change the way we live in a positive way, Biden also said it comes with “enormous peril.”
AI has been around for a while, in some form, but it only burst onto the scene earlier this year with the release of ChatGPT. That program allowed everyday people to use AI in ways that only large companies could before.
As Biden said this week:
“Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, hold both enormous potential and enormous peril. We need to be sure that they’re used as tools of opportunity, not as weapons of oppression.
“Together with leaders around the world, the United States is working to strengthen rules and policies so AI technologies are safe before they’re released to the public, to make sure we govern this technology, not the other way around – having it govern us.”
AI gone wrong has been depicted in many science fiction movies and stories, but now, people around the world are concerned that situations like that could actually happen. Even if it doesn’t get to the point that it did in Terminator 2, it’s possible that AI could cause much more harm than it does good if it’s not reined in.
“I’m committed to working through this institution and other international bodies and directly with leaders around the world, including our competitors, to ensure we harness the power of artificial intelligence for good while protecting our citizens from this most profound risk.
“It’s going to take all of us. I’ve been working on this for a while, as many of you have. It’s going to take all of us to get this right.”
Many of the country’s top business leaders share the same concerns that Biden does. In early June, 42% of CEOs who were surveyed at the virtual Yale CEO Summit said that the technology holds the power “to destroy humanity” within five to 10 years.
Commenting on the findings of the study, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at Yale, told CNN in June:
“It’s pretty dark and alarming.”
Yale asked a separate question of the same 119 CEOs, with 42% saying they believed AI’s catastrophic potential is overstated, with 58% saying it’s not.
That study came on the heels of a group of leaders in the AI industry who signed a statement that warned of the “extinction risks that AI presents. Even Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, and Geoffrey Hinton, who’s considered the “godfather of AI,” signed the letter along with some top executives at Microsoft and Google.
A statement released from the group read:
“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”