The president has initiated ghost protocol.
Okay, not quite, but President Joe Biden did sign a new executive order on artificial intelligence that may have been partially inspired by a viewing of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.
According to the Associated Press, Biden chose the summer blockbuster for a recent viewing at Camp David, but it proved to be less of an escapist experience than he probably hoped, as the movie's villainous AI, "the Entity," seemed to unnerve him.
"If he hadn't already been concerned about what could go wrong with AI before that movie, he saw plenty more to worry about," Biden's chief of staff, Bruce Reed, told the AP.
Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty; Paramount Pictures/Everett Joe Biden; Tom Cruise in 'Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol Part One'
In the film, the Entity destroys a Russian submarine after gaining sentience and threatens the entire global intelligence community with its access to weapons and government secrets. Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt and his team spend the entirety of the movie attempting to secure override keys for the Entity's source code, and the rogue AI outwits them at nearly every juncture, as it identifies each character's weakness, manipulates video footage to change people's faces, and occasionally impersonates team members' voices.
Reed indicated that voice cloning is a particularly worrisome issue for the president, and he said that artificial intelligence was already on Biden's mind when he watched the film. In the months of meetings that led up to drafting the order, Biden "was as impressed and alarmed as anyone," Reed said. "He saw fake AI images of himself, of his dog. He saw how it can make bad poetry. 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."
The executive order, signed Monday, seeks to ensure "safe, secure, and trustworthy" AI. The members of the executive branch's mission, should they choose to accept it (they should!), is to enact the order's guidance within 365 days.
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