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VP Harris launches AI Safety Institute to protect consumers


Shortly after President Joe Biden introduced a comprehensive executive order reshaping the role of the federal government in AI development, Vice President Kamala Harris unveiled several new machine learning initiatives at the UK AI Safety Summit on Tuesday. These initiatives include the establishment of the United States AI Safety Institute, the release of draft policy guidance on the federal government’s AI use, and a declaration on responsible military AI applications.

Harris emphasized the ethical responsibility to ensure that AI is developed and adopted in ways that protect the public and deliver its benefits while minimizing potential harm. She highlighted the risks posed by AI, including cyber-attacks and bioweapon development, particularly the existential threats posed by generative AI systems.

To address these challenges, Harris announced the establishment of the United States AI Safety Institute (US AISI) in cooperation with the Department of Commerce, which will create guidelines, benchmark tests, best practices, and evaluate potentially dangerous AI systems. This includes red-team exercises as mentioned in the executive order. The US AISI will provide technical guidance to lawmakers and law enforcement on AI-related topics such as identifying generated content, authenticating live-recorded content, mitigating AI-driven discrimination, and ensuring transparency.

Additionally, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will release a draft policy guidance on government AI use, which aims to advance responsible AI innovation while maintaining transparency and worker protection. Public input on this guidance will be encouraged.

Harris also mentioned the Political Declaration on the Responsible Use of AI and Autonomy, which has garnered 30 signatories. The administration plans to launch a virtual hackathon to counter AI-empowered phone and internet scammers, especially those targeting vulnerable populations with generated voice scams.

Content authentication is a growing focus, and the Biden-Harris administration seeks global support for developing standards for authenticating government-produced content. Harris emphasized the need for legislation to strengthen AI safety without stifling innovation, highlighting the importance of government oversight in addressing technology challenges.

In summary, the Biden-Harris administration is taking proactive steps to ensure the responsible development, deployment, and use of AI, guided by ethics and public safety.

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