U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during the Broadband Event at the White House in Washington, D.C., June 26, 2023.
Mostafa Bassim | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The U.S. doesn’t need to make a “false choice” between artificial intelligence innovation and safety, Vice President Kamala Harris said ahead of a meeting Wednesday at the White House with civil society leaders in the space.
“It is a false choice to suggest that we either can advance innovation, or we protect consumers,” Harris said. “We can do both.”
Harris said rejecting that “false choice” would be a “guiding principle” for the administration.
“We should not dampen or in any way slow down innovation that can improve the condition of people’s lives,” Harris said. “And we must also ensure that in that process, we are not trampling on people’s rights.”
The meeting Wednesday includes groups that advocate on behalf of specific populations or on digital rights issues. The White House confirmed the following list of participants:
- Alexandra Reeve Givens, CEO, Center for Democracy and Technology
- Harlan Yu, Executive Director, Upturn
- Janet Murguia, President and CEO, UnidosUS
- Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO, AARP
- Lisa Rice, President and CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance
- Liz Shuler, President, AFL-CIO
- Mary Anne Franks, President, Cyber Civil Rights Initiative
- Maya Wiley, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
- Sneha Revanur, Founder and President, Encode Justice
- Susan Henderson, Executive Director, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
It follows a similar discussion Harris hosted with CEOs of major tech companies working on AI, including Microsoft, Google and OpenAI. AI experts have encouraged the government to listen to a diverse range of voices on the technology so as not to be overly swayed by industry priorities.
It comes as Congress is weighing its role in creating safeguards around AI. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is working on a legislative framework to address AI-related issues, though a timeline for its release is not yet clear.
Harris said the group would discuss transparency in AI, so the public can understand what is going into these systems and how they make decisions. She said her concerns about the technology included its effect on privacy, workers, misinformation and discrimination.