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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Artificial intelligence (AI) has become the latest realm of technology ripe for government censorship and control.
On Nov. 1 at a global summit in Britain, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced a slew of measures to control the perceived risks of AI. In front of world and tech leaders assembled in London, the VP outlined so-called protections the American government plans to put into place to manage the dangers AI poses, asserting herself and the United States as leaders in the field.
Her visit to London coincides with her post on X touting President Biden's latest executive order: "On Monday, @POTUS and I unveiled the most significant action on artificial intelligence by any government in the world. Today, I am proud to announce new commitments as we work together to strengthen AI safety."
On Monday, @POTUS and I unveiled the most significant action on artificial intelligence by any government in the world.— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) Nov. 1, 2023
Today, I am proud to announce new commitments as we work together to strengthen AI safety.
Biden's hefty document, called Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, like Harris' rhetoric, is presented as a munificent effort designed to ensure the so-called safety of all AI users by banning evil-intentioned users who may smear reputations, spread fake news and commit fraud, or even aid in the making of weapons of mass destruction.
The first section of the order reads:
Responsible AI use has the potential to help solve urgent challenges while making our world more prosperous, productive, innovative, and secure. At the same time, irresponsible use could exacerbate societal harms such as fraud, discrimination, bias, and disinformation; displace and disempower workers; stifle competition; and pose risks to national security. Harnessing AI for good and realizing its myriad benefits requires mitigating its substantial risks. This endeavor demands a society-wide effort that includes government, the private sector, academia, and civil society.
Revealing his intention to establish the United States as a global AI leader, Biden added: "The rapid speed at which AI capabilities are advancing compels the United States to lead in this moment for the sake of our security, economy, and society."
Biden's far-reaching order establishes his administration not only as a leader in the development of AI but also as its regulator. It explicitly charges U.S. agencies with duties and deadlines, including the
The administration also plans the imminent establishment of a U.S. AI Safety Institute (AISI) that Harris also touted on Nov. 1: "@Potus and I are establishing the United States AI Safety Institute. The Institute will create rigorous standards to test the safety of AI models for public use."
The Institute is set to create "guidelines, tools, benchmarks, and best practices for evaluating and mitigating dangerous capabilities and conducting evaluations ... to identify and mitigate AI risk," according to a report.
Another meeting of world leaders took place in London earlier this year that some see as an antithesis to the global summit Harris is attending, Biden's executive order, and the AISI. More than 130 renowned intellectuals and academics from various backgrounds who attended argued for less censorship, not more. They warned about increasing censorship in many countries around the world, facilitated by ongoing digital developments.
The meeting resulted in what is called the Westminster Declaration, which was signed by Jordan Peterson, Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Jeffrey Sachs, Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, among others.
The signatories declared:
We write as journalists, artists, authors, activists, technologists, and academics to warn of increasing international censorship that threatens to erode centuries-old democratic norms. Coming from the left, right, and center, we are united by our commitment to universal human rights and freedom of speech, and we are all deeply concerned about attempts to label protected speech as 'misinformation,' 'disinformation,' and other ill-defined terms.
"Across the globe, government actors, social media companies, universities, and NGOs are increasingly working to monitor citizens and rob them of their voices," they continued. "These large-scale coordinated efforts are sometimes referred to as the 'Censorship-Industrial Complex.'"
The signatories cited in their document Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted in 1948 after WWII: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
They concede that there may be times when governments may need to regulate aspects of social media, but they posit that "these regulations should never infringe on the human right to freedom of expression."
Many are suspicious of maneuvers by the U.S. government and others around the world to control and censor expression and communication — measures that seem to be intensifying before the contentious and much anticipated 2024 U.S. presidential elections.
Elon Musk, the CEO of X (previously Twitter), told podcast titan Joe Rogan on Tuesday, "The degree to which Twitter was simply an arm of the government was not well understood by the public."
He added, "And it was like Pravda, basically, a State publication, is the way to think of old Twitter — a State publication."
Musk purchased Twitter in 2022 for $44 billion and purged many leftist ideologues from the company.
He further noted to Rogan, "There was basically oppression of any views that would even, I would say, be considered middle of the road. Um, but certainly anything on the Right. I'm not talking about like, like far Right, I'm just talking mildly Right. The people like Republicans were suppressed at 10 times the rate of Democrats. That's because old Twitter was fundamentally controlled by the far Left."