Biden urges technology firms to prioritize safety in AI development

During a meeting with science and technology advisers on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden raised concerns about the safety of artificial intelligence (AI) and urged technology companies to prioritize safety when developing and releasing AI products. While acknowledging the potential benefits of AI in tackling issues such as disease and climate change, Biden stressed the need to address possible risks to society, national security, and the economy.

“It is yet to be determined. There is a possibility,” Biden replied when asked about the potential hazards of AI. He cited the negative impact that powerful technologies can have in the absence of appropriate measures to protect against them, citing social media as an example. “Absent safeguards, we see the impact on the mental health and self-images and feelings and hopelessness, especially among young people,” he said.

Biden emphasized the importance of technology companies ensuring their products are secure before releasing them to the public. He called for the U.S. Congress to approve non-partisan privacy laws that limit the personal data gathered by technology firms, prohibit child-targeted advertising, and give priority to health and safety in product development.

In recent years, there has been growing concern about the potential risks associated with the development and use of AI. While AI has the potential to revolutionize many industries and address complex global issues, it also poses significant risks to society, including job displacement, bias, and the potential for unintended consequences.

The Center for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Policy, a technology ethics organization, recently urged the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to prevent OpenAI from releasing new commercial versions of GPT-4, a language model that has both impressed and alarmed users due to its human-like capacity to create written responses to prompts.

The debate over the safety of AI is likely to continue as technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. Biden’s call for technology firms to prioritize safety and for Congress to enact privacy laws that prioritize health and safety in product development is an important step towards ensuring that the benefits of AI are realized while minimizing the risks.


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President Biden Claims that Musk Purchased a Platform that Promotes Hate Speech

United States President Joe Biden has slammed Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter Inc claiming the social media site was a culprit in spreading false information across the globe. 


President Biden made this statement in passing during a fundraiser in Chicago earlier this week, as he cautioned contributors about the impact the upcoming elections would have in the years to come.

Recall that Jack Dorsey’s formerly owned media platform Twitter was purchased for $44 billion by Elon Musk, who describes himself as a defender of free expression. However, since the acquisition, Musk has commenced a plan to fire around half the company’s 7,500 personnel after removing the majority of top executives and the board.

Based on the development, the Biden government has already made clear its position in favor of encouraging the censorship of offensive speech and falsehoods on social media sites. Nevertheless, the president emphasized the absence of oversight on Twitter, adding: 

“There are no editors anymore. There are no editors. How do we expect kids to be able to understand what is at stake.”

Musk’s objectives to reform Twitter’s content regulation have alarmed advertisers. These include Pfizer Inc. and General Mills Inc., which say they will for the time being halt their advertising campaign spending on the site while they wait to see how Musk proposes to revamp Twitter.

Civil Rights Groups Begin to Mount Pressure on Twitter’s Advertisers

Furthermore, civil rights organizations are increasing their pressure on advertisers to demand that Musk upholds action to prevent the site from serving as a platform for inciting hate speeches or misinformation.

Musk confirmed earlier this week that reservations regarding content filtering on Twitter had contributed to a considerable loss in sales, as advertisers clamp down on budgets. Meanwhile, he insisted that nothing has been altered with content regulations.

In October after Musk’s acquisition of Twitter reports suggested several ways that Musk, who is one of the most significant crypto influencers globally, might bring more cryptocurrency into twitter.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Biden Receives Crypto Regulation Framework from Treasury

The United States Treasury Department has delivered a crypto framework to President Joe Biden as instructed in the Executive Order (EO) issued back in March. 


The Treasury Department said the framework sent to the President was created in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the heads of other relevant agencies.

According to the Treasury, the framework calls on the United States’ core allies to collaborate on creating international standards for regulating crypto assets. 

Harmonizing Crypto Regulations Across Borders

The Treasury highlights the need to harmonize approaches that can help to nip in the board regulations in combating crimes emanating from the crypto ecosystem which often spills to foreign jurisdictions.

“Uneven regulation, supervision, and compliance across jurisdictions creates opportunities for arbitrage and raises risks to financial stability and the protection of consumers, investors, businesses, and markets,” the framework reads, adding, “Inadequate anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulation, supervision, and enforcement by other countries challenge the ability of the United States to investigate illicit digital asset transaction flows that frequently jump overseas, as is often the case in ransomware payments and other cybercrime-related money laundering.”

Also, the Treasury wants the US to take the charge in leading talks with respect to the development of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) frameworks. 

“Such international work should continue to address the full spectrum of issues and challenges raised by digital assets, including financial stability; consumer and investor protection, and business risks; and money laundering, terrorist financing, proliferation financing, sanctions evasion, and other illicit activities,” the Treasury noted.

While the United States is now doing all it can to focus on the nascent crypto industry, the European Union is already ahead. The EU agreed on its own comprehensive framework for Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) in the past week, with full implementation barely a few years away.

It is not immediately clear how the US and EU will harmonize strategies moving forward but on CBDCs, more work is still ahead and the collaboration may be more meaningful this way.

Image source: Shutterstock


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President Biden taps economists for Fed governors’ seats, Sarah Bloom Raskin as vice chair for supervision

The White House has officially tapped former Fed governor Sarah Bloom Raskin to serve as the vice chair for supervision for the Federal Reserve, as well as economists Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson to fill two empty seats on its board of governors.

In a Friday announcement, U.S. President Joe Biden said he had nominated Cook, an Obama-era economic adviser and Michigan State University faculty member, as well as Jefferson, a former research economist for the Fed, to the board of governors in addition to Raskin. Jefferson and Cook will take two of the vacant seats in the group of seven governors, with Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard nominated to serve as chair and vice chair, respectively.

According to the U.S. President, the three nominees have the “experience, judgement, and integrity to lead the Federal Reserve and to help build our economy back better for working families.” He cited Jefferson’s and Cook’s decades of experience working on economic issues, while saying Raskin was “among the most qualified nominees ever” for the vice chair for supervision.

The vice chair for supervision, as opposed to the vice chair of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, is a relatively new role within the government agency. Randal Quarles was the first to hold the position for the full four-term year from 2017 to 2021 shortly before resigning as a Fed board member in December. According to the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2010, the vice chair for supervision “shall develop policy recommendations for the Board regarding supervision and regulation of depository institution holding companies and other financial firms supervised by the Board and shall oversee the supervision and regulation of such firms.”

Many vacancies at the Federal Reserve, the result of terms expiring and board members resigning, have given President Biden the opportunity to shake up the agency’s leadership. This week, his picks for the Fed chair and vice chair — Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard, respectively — testified before the Senate Banking Committee in advance of a vote before the full Senate. Should they receive more than 50 votes, Powell, Brainard, and Raskin would serve as the Fed board’s leadership until 2026, with Cook and Jefferson serving 14-year terms.

Related: US lawmaker hints at upcoming crypto legislation as Jerome Powell says Fed will release report on digital currency soon

A significant change in leadership of some of the top financial regulators in the United States could have an impact on how the government looks at both crypto and blockchain. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will likely see a shakeup in 2022, with the expected departure of SEC commissioners Elad Roisman this month and Allison Lee in June. In addition, President Biden has not suggested he intends to re-nominate CFTC commissioner Dawn Stump prior to her term expiring in April.