In a follow up on our coverage of President Biden's Executive Order on AI, another POTUS is jumping into the mix -- President Obama published his AI reading list to Medium four days ago. Obama, always harkening back to “Yes We Can” and the message of “Hope”, states “I sat down with Nilay Patel, host of the Decoder podcast, to talk more about how we can learn from the past and harness the power of AI in a way that benefits, rather than undermines, our democracy.” But if you dig in deeper, the theme that prevails from the executive order itself, and from Obama's list of go-to current articles, books and podcasts, is more fear than excitement.
Headlines from Obama's list, such as “Angry Mobs”, “Tragedy of the Commons”, and “Zero Trust” are certain to evoke the risk of AI undermining society rather than benefitting it. In the Biden executive order, the list of priorities use terms such as “must not harm”, “cannot result in discrimination”, and “must be safe and secure”. That said, a corollary to fear can be necessity, and it is often said that “necessity is the mother of invention.”
Bottom line, whether we are excited or fearful about AI and our potential to shape it, it is top of mind to POTUS 44 and 46, and where there's fear and necessity, there's a lot of product-market fit to be had.
Time to dig in and read some more.