Joe Biden Felt More Pressure to Create AI Safeguards After Watching the New “Mission: Impossible”

The president's ambitious executive order on artificial intelligence came after seeing false images of himself online — and watching the AI villain in 'Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One'

<p>Jonathan Ernst - Pool/Getty </p> Joe Biden

Jonathan Ernst - Pool/Getty

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden's ambitious executive order on artificial intelligence came about in part due to the villain in the summer blockbuster Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One.

That's according to deputy White House chief of staff Bruce Reed, who told the Associated Press that Biden recently watched the film — which centers on a sentient AI that hijacks and sinks a submarine — at Camp David.

“If he hadn’t already been concerned about what could go wrong with AI before that movie, he saw plenty more to worry about,” Reed told AP.

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Reed added that the president has other concerns about AI, stemming from false images he's seen of himself and his family online.

“He saw fake AI images of himself, of his dog. He saw how it can make bad poetry," Reed told the outlet. "And he’s seen and heard the incredible and terrifying technology of voice cloning, which can take three seconds of your voice and turn it into an entire fake conversation.”

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Joe Biden and Kamala Harris walk and talk outside the White House
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Joe Biden and Kamala Harris walk and talk outside the White House

On Monday, Biden signed an executive order on the "safe, secure, and trustworthy development and use of artificial intelligence."

The order is meant to "ensure that America leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of artificial intelligence," according to the White House, and establishes new standards for AI safety and security. The order also requires AI companies to test some of their products and share the results with the government before rolling them out widely to consumers.

It will be supplemented by guidance from the Commerce Department on labeling and watermarking content that is AI-generated, so that authentic footage and imagery can be differentiated from that generated by software (which, in theory, could limit the threat posed by deepfakes).

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Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris
Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a major policy speech on AI on Wednesday at the Global Summit on AI Safety in the UK to announce the administration's new policy initiatives. Harris' attendance at the summit aims to boost collaboration with other nations and strengthen international norms around AI safeguards.

"President Biden and I reject the false choice that suggests we can either protect the public or advance innovation. We can and we must do both," Harris said in her remarks. "The actions we take today will lay the groundwork for how AI will be used in the years to come."
She concluded by calling for world leaders to "seize this moment" for responsible innovation, saying, "The benefits of AI are immense. It could give us the power to fight the climate crisis, make medical and scientific breakthroughs, explore our universe, and improve everyday life for people around the world."

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Artificial intelligence has proved a hot topic as of late, including in the entertainment industry, where members of the Screen Actors Guild who are currently on strike have warned about the potential threats it imposes on them.

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