Biden lightens his White House schedule, lets Harris take lead in AI meeting

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After a hectic week of signing executive orders to try and fulfill his campaign promises, President Joe Biden has reportedly lightened his White House schedule to give Vice President Kamala Harris more opportunities to lead meetings and take on a greater leadership role. One such occasion was when Harris led a virtual meeting with members of the National Security Council to discuss the United States’ approach to artificial intelligence (AI).

The vice president’s meeting comes as part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to establish a national strategy for AI development, which has been a key area of focus for the United States since the Obama administration. The Biden administration has emphasized the need to prioritize American innovation and competitiveness in the field, and Harris’s role in the meeting signals the administration’s commitment to incentivizing and empowering women and people of color in STEM fields.

Harris, a former attorney general and senator from California, has a history of promoting the role of technology in government. During her time in Congress, she co-sponsored the Artificial Intelligence in Government Act, which would create a Federal Advisory Committee on AI to make recommendations to improve the use of AI in the federal government.

“The future of our country depends on our ability to understand and advance technology, particularly in fields like AI,” Harris said during the meeting. “We need to make sure that we are proactively prepared for the impact that AI will have on our workforce, economy, and society as a whole.”

The meeting, which included representatives from the Defense Department, National Science Foundation, and Department of Homeland Security, focused on developing strategies to ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of AI development and deployment. It is part of a broader push by the Biden administration to prioritize research and development in emerging technologies.

In his first weeks in office, President Biden has already taken steps to signal that tech innovation will be a top priority for his administration. He has appointed top tech executives to key leadership roles and ordered reviews of the government’s approach to data privacy and cybersecurity. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan Act includes significant funding for broadband access and the expansion of AI and related technologies.

The United States’ strategies for AI and emerging tech will have both national security and economic implications, creating jobs and facilitating growth in key industries. According to projections by Accenture, AI could contribute an additional $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

However, there are concerns that rapid development and deployment of AI could exacerbate existing inequalities and raise ethical concerns. AI systems can perpetuate existing biases in data sets, ultimately leading to discriminatory outcomes. There have also been concerns about AI’s impact on employment and its potential use in autonomous weapons.

During the meeting, Harris emphasized the importance of developing AI in an ethical and responsible manner. “As we continue to develop and deploy AI, we must ensure that we are not exacerbating inequalities in our society or undermining our democratic values,” Harris said. “We have a responsibility to ensure that AI is developed in a way that benefits all Americans, not just a select few.”

The meeting’s emphasis on the ethical dimensions of AI development is indicative of a broader trend in the tech industry. Companies are increasingly recognizing the need to take a conscious approach to their products and services that specifically considers their impact on society. This trend has led to a rise in the use of stakeholder capitalism, the idea that companies have a responsibility to their customers, employees, and the broader community.

By adopting a conscious approach to AI and emerging tech development, and using the expertise of both Harris and other stakeholders, the United States can ensure that the benefits of these technologies are shared more equally across society. This approach could also help mitigate the potential negative impacts that could otherwise emerge.

In conclusion, Vice President Kamala Harris’s leadership in the recent AI meeting signals the Biden administration’s commitment to advancing American innovation and competitiveness in the tech industry. This emphasis on emerging tech also reflects a broader movement within the industry towards responsible and ethical development. By taking a conscious approach, the United States can ensure the benefits of AI and emerging technologies are shared more widely across society while mitigating the potential negative impacts.