White House announces $140 million A.I. hub investment ahead of meeting with Google, OpenAI

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President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris conduct an event on the South Lawn of the White House to commemorate the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which will help curb gun violence, on Monday, July 11, 2022.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The White House announced it would invest $140 million to create seven artificial intelligence research hubs and released new guidance on AI.

The developments come ahead of Vice President Kamala Harris’s meeting with executives from Google’s parent company Alphabet, Anthropic, Microsoft and OpenAI Thursday.

It’s part of the Biden administration’s aim to curtail security risks associated with AI as the technology rapidly develops and to impress on pioneering companies that they can help reduce harm early on. OpenAI is the creator of the widely used AI tool, ChatGPT — bolstered by an investment from Microsoft. Anthropic is another leading startup.

As AI becomes more ubiquitous, the White House Thursday promised it would release guidelines for use by government agencies. AI developers are also expected to agree to have their products reviewed at the upcoming DEF CON cybersecurity conference in August.

Funding for the proposed research hubs will come from the National Science Foundation and will bring the total number of AI research institutes to 25 across the country.

Artificial intelligence has already begun to disrupt everyday life with a deluge of fake images and videos and robot-penned text, prompting concerns ranging from national security to misinformation. The influence is being felt in American politics, as well: Republicans last week released an AI-generated video in response to President Joe Biden’s reelection bid.

Biden himself has said “it remains to be seen” if AI is dangerous, adding last month “it could be.”

“Tech companies have a responsibility, in my view, to make sure their products are safe before making them public,” the president said ahead of a meeting with his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in April.

The White House has made addressing AI a priority. Last year the administration released a “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights” and later outlined the creation of a National AI Research Resource.

In February Biden signed an executive order aimed to prevent bias and discrimination in the technologies from their inception.

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