HomeTechnologyKamala Harris Warns That ‘Existential Threats’ of AI Are Already Here

Kamala Harris Warns That ‘Existential Threats’ of AI Are Already Here

Vice President Kamala Harris urged world leaders to address the threats posed by artificial intelligence (AI) to human rights and democratic values in a speech delivered in London. She also announced new measures that the Biden administration would take to manage the risks and regulatory challenges associated with this emerging technology.

During her speech at the U.S. Embassy, Harris highlighted the impact of discrimination, disinformation, and democratic challenges on vulnerable populations and called on leaders to prioritize these issues over profit and future concerns.

Harris emphasized the significance of these threats, which she referred to as the “existential threats of A.I.,” as they have the potential to endanger humanity. She stressed the need for global action and emphasized the importance of addressing additional threats that are already causing harm and are perceived as existential by many.

The speech also focused on consumer protections and the potential for A.I. to worsen existing inequalities. Research has shown that A.I. programs can produce biased results that discriminate based on race, gender, or age.

On the same day that 28 countries, including the United States and China, signed a declaration warning of the potential for “catastrophic” damage from advanced forms of A.I., Harris highlighted how the technology is already causing harm. She provided examples of disenfranchisement and discrimination against vulnerable populations, such as individuals losing their healthcare due to faulty algorithms, women facing threats from abusive partners using deepfake photographs, and wrongful imprisonment caused by biased facial recognition.

Harris questioned the existential threat to democracy when A.I.-enabled mis- and disinformation make it difficult for people to distinguish fact from fiction. Her speech took place ahead of her attendance at a global summit on technology’s future, where she will advocate for United States’ ideals and promote global standards in A.I.

Harris also announced additional measures taken by the United States to build upon President Biden’s executive order. These include the establishment of an “A.I. Safety Institute” to create safety standards for public use of A.I. models, new guidelines for federal agencies to ensure the public benefit from A.I. technology, and the creation of a policy guiding A.I. use in federal agencies overseen by new chief A.I. officers.

On Wednesday, Mr. Sunak described Harris’s speech as “incredibly significant.” The United States has lagged behind the European Union, China, and Israel in regulating A.I., with Congress yet to pass major legislation on the subject. However, the Biden administration’s executive order and agreements with top companies mark a significant step towards managing risks and protecting consumer interests.

Harris highlighted the importance of government regulation and oversight, as some technology companies prioritize profit over customer well-being, community safety, and democratic stability. She also announced that 30 other nations have joined a political declaration by the United States to establish norms for responsible development and use of military A.I. capabilities.

Harris stressed the need for a collective vision of the future amidst the urgency of the current situation. She also emphasized the role of civil society groups and the private sector in ensuring the responsible development and use of A.I., announcing $200 million in philanthropic funding from 10 organizations to support the administration’s goals.

Maya Wiley, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, praised Harris’s speech as a significant counterweight to big tech companies and others who downplay the everyday consequences that the majority of Americans fear will escalate with widespread A.I. adoption.