Urgent Responses Needed for AI's Impact on Democracy and Privacy, Asserts Kamala Harris

NNicholas November 1, 2023 12:18 PM

US Vice-President Kamala Harris is set to emphasize the urgent need to address the immediate threats artificial intelligence (AI) presents to democracy and privacy, ahead of addressing longer-term existential risks. She will articulate this viewpoint in a speech at the Bletchley Park AI summit in the UK.

Harris champions dual pursuit of public protection and AI advancement

In her anticipated speech at Bletchley Park's AI summit, US Vice-President Kamala Harris will highlight the urgency to combat the immediate threats posed by artificial intelligence (AI) to democracy and privacy. Expressly dismissing the notion that public protection and innovation are mutually exclusive, Harris insists the dual pursuit is not only possible but also imperative, particularly in light of the swift advancements in AI technology.

Harris's interest centers around the harms caused by AI that are already in action, including those related to discrimination and misinformation. She is advocating for the development of technology that combats AI-generated voice scams targeting vulnerable individuals. Additionally, Harris supports measures to trace authentic government-produced digital content and AI-generated or manipulated content, through digital signatures, watermarking, or other labeling techniques.

Countries commit to US-led political declaration for military use of AI

In a significant reveal, Harris shares that 30 countries have committed to signing a US-led political declaration concerning the use of AI by national militaries. The vice-president cautions about potential AI-enabled cyber-attacks and bioweapons that could pose a threat on an unprecedented scale. The political declaration, she assures, would preserve countries' right to self-defense and the responsible development and use of AI in the military domain.

US Department of Commerce to establish AI Safety Institute

Harris confirms that the US Department of Commerce is set to establish the United States AI Safety Institute (US AISI). The institute's mandate includes developing guidelines, tools, benchmarks, and best practices for evaluating and mitigating harmful AI capabilities and managing AI risk. The institute also plans to address issues such as authenticating human-created content, watermarking AI-generated content, and ensuring transparency, among others.

In a firm defense of state regulation and oversight of AI, Harris points to instances where technology companies have put profit above customer wellbeing and democratic stability. She asserts that legislation strengthening AI safety without stifling innovation can serve as a key strategy to address these challenges, alongside efforts already underway.

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