The White House is holding back as pressure mounts for congressional intervention in rapid AI developments

The White House remains largely on the sidelines of a growing debate between Americans and lawmakers about the rapid developments in the artificial intelligence (AI) industry and whether there should be some sort of congressional intervention.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre answered questions from the briefing room Thursday and did not say whether the Biden administration would ask lawmakers to regulate AI at the federal level after being told by Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy , asked for an open letter signed by Tesla CEO Elon MuskApple co-founder Steve Wozniak and other tech giants cited the “profound risks of AI to society and humanity.”

“It highlights a number of challenges that are addressed directly in the government’s blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, released last October,” Jean-Pierre said of the letter. “It provides principles and practices that AI developers can apply to ensure security, civil rights, and civil liberties safeguards are built into AI systems from end to end.”

“A comprehensive process is currently underway to ensure a coherent federal government approach to AI-related risks and opportunities, including how to ensure that AI innovation and deployment proceed with appropriate caution and security,” she added added. “I have nothing further to announce at this time, but a full process is underway.”


White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks to reporters during the daily White House press briefing on Thursday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Doocy urged Jean-Pierre on the seriousness of the matter, citing comments from Eliezer Yudkowsky, a decision theorist at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, who wrote in a recent comment that the six-month “pause” in the development of “AI systems more powerful than GPT 4” — as demanded by Musk and hundreds of other innovators and pundits — understates the “seriousness of the matter.” He would go further and introduce an “indefinite and worldwide” moratorium on new large-scale AI learning models.

“Many researchers studying these topics, including myself, anticipate that the most likely outcome of building a superhumanly intelligent AI under something remotely like the current circumstances is that literally everyone on Earth will die will,” said Yudkowsky. “Not like ‘perhaps a remote coincidence’, but like ‘that’s the obvious thing that would happen’.”

“Agree that doesn’t sound good?” Doocy asked Jean-Pierre about Yudkowsky’s claim.

“Your delivery, Peter, that’s something special,” Jean-Pierre answered with a laugh.

“It sounds crazy, but is it?” asked Doocy.

“All I can say is that there is a comprehensive process. As you know, we released a blueprint back in October,” she replied. “I have nothing to share. We saw the letter. We understand what your concerns are. Again, full process – we will let that flow.”

Doocy then asked Jean-Pierre if President Biden was “concerned that artificial intelligence might become self-aware.”


“Look, we’re — again, there’s an inclusive process,” she said. “We take this very seriously. …I just don’t want to prejudge our findings and what that will look like, but it’s a coherent approach by the federal government to AI-related risks, as you’ve just pointed out in a very dramatic way.”

Jean-Pierre said Thursday that the open letter from Elon Musk and other tech pundits "points to a number of challenges" included in the October 2022 White House draft AI Bill of Rights.

Jean-Pierre said Thursday that the open letter from Elon Musk and other tech experts “highlights a number of challenges” contained in the White House’s October 2022 draft AI Bill of Rights. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“We will continue. But thanks Peter for the drama,” added Jean-Pierre.

The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights — as noted by Jean-Pierre during the briefing — was released by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in October and is a “set of five principles and associated practices intended to assist in the design, use, and deployment of automated systems Protecting the rights of the American public in the age of artificial intelligence.”

The five design principles include: safe and effective systems; algorithmic protection against discrimination; data privacy; notice and explanation; and human alternatives, consideration and relapse.

When asked for comment on the matter and whether the White House has concerns about the rapid development of AI or believes it should be regulated federally, Jean-Pierre referred Fox News Digital to the National Security Council (NSC), which serving as Biden’s “director” forum for discussing national security and foreign policy matters with his or her senior advisers and cabinet officials.”

Although the NSC signaled that it would quickly respond to Fox News’ request, after more than 24 hours, the NSC had no comment on the Biden administration’s response to the call for a moratorium on AI development.

President Biden speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Monday.

President Biden speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Monday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


The relative silence from the White House on potentially disruptive developments in AI comes as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle appear to be finding common ground in the 118th Congress to demand oversight of the burgeoning technology.

“I think what you need to do is identify what is not allowed in terms of ethics and illegal activity, whether it is AI or not. You impose the same level of ethics and privacy on AI activities that you do on other competencies today. “South Dakota GOP Sen. Mike Rounds, a leader of the Senate AI Caucus, said Fox News Digital On Wednesday.

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which he chairs, recently held a hearing on the “pros and cons” of AI technology.

“I intend to conduct a series of hearings at Homeland Security and [Governmental] Matters that are dealing with AI and what we should be thinking about,” said Peters.

Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.

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