In a speech to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on September 19, United States President Joe Biden emphasized the urgent need for pre-emptive regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), reversing the existing paradigm that has seen a rush to create regulations for these products after their launch.
Biden emphasized the “enormous potential and enormous danger” of artificial intelligence and urged proactive steps to ensure that these emerging technologies serve as “tools of opportunity, not weapons of oppression.”
The president’s comments echo the recent wave of regulatory discussions surrounding artificial intelligence. Potential misuse of AI has been a key concern, a sentiment shared by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, who urged US lawmakers to regulate AI during a Senate hearing in May.
As part of his speech, Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to “working through this institution and other international bodies and directly with leaders around the world… to ensure that we govern AI and not the other way around.”
The president’s remarks are in line with international efforts to strengthen AI safety and regulation measures, such as the UK government’s upcoming AI Safety Summit. The event, scheduled for November at Bletchley Park, aims to establish a shared understanding of AI-related risks and encourage international collaboration.
Regulatory actions regarding Artificial Intelligence have also been seen in the United States, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposing rules to mitigate conflicts of interest arising from the use of predictive data analytics and AI by companies.
Meanwhile, technology companies are lobbying for regulations that support open source development.
Several European AI companies, including GitHub and HuggingFace, have expressed concerns about the European Union’s upcoming AI Act. They argue that the act’s focus on the application layer and its vague definitions could harm the growth of the AI sector.
Biden’s remarks at the UN highlight a broader trend: the need for deliberate international collaboration on early regulation of AI that balances the technology’s transformative potential with its potential threats.
As AI continues to advance, finding this balance will become increasingly crucial.