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Shoeleather Journalism in the Digital Age

Shoeleather Journalism
in the Digital Age

White House AI council meets Monday as legislative action stalls

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U.S. President Joe Biden walks across the stage to sign an Executive Order about Artificial Intelligence in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 30, 2023. (REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo)
White House remains committed to executive order on threat of AI
By David Shepardson | REUTERS

The White House artificial intelligence council is meeting Monday, three months after President Joe Biden signed an executive order that aims to reduce the risks AI poses.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed, who will convene the council meeting Monday, said in a statement the federal government had made significant progress in the prior 90 days on AI, saying Biden’s “directive to us is move fast and fix things.”

The White House said nine government agencies — including Defense, Transportation, Treasury, and Health and Human Services — submitted risk assessments to the Department of Homeland Security required under Biden’s order.

At the same time, efforts in Congress to pass legislation in Congress addressing AI have stalled despite numerous high-level forums and legislative proposals.

On Friday, the Biden administration said it was proposing requiring U.S. cloud companies to determine whether foreign entities are accessing U.S. data centers to train AI models through “know your customer” rules.

“We can’t have non-state actors or China or folks who we don’t want accessing our cloud to train their models,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Reuters Friday. “We use export controls on chips. Those chips are in American cloud data centers so we also have to think about closing down that avenue for potential malicious activity.”

Last month, Raimondo said Commerce would not allow Nvidia “to ship is the most sophisticated, highest-processing-power AI chips, which would enable China to train their frontier models.”

Biden’s executive order invokes the Defense Production Act to require developers of AI systems that pose risks to U.S. national security, the economy, public health or safety to share the results of safety tests with the U.S. government before they are publicly released.

The Commerce Department plans to soon send those survey requests to companies. Raimondo told Reuters companies will have 30 days to respond.

“Any company that doesn’t want to comply is a red flag for me,” she said.

Top cloud providers include Amazon.com’s AWS, Alphabet’s Google Cloud and Microsoft’s Azure unit.

Editor’s Note: Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Stephen Coates

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