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Biden used ChatGPT for the first time. Here's how that went.

Lakshmi Varanasi   

Biden used ChatGPT for the first time. Here's how that went.
  • President Joe Biden was apparently impressed by his first encounter with generative AI last year.
  • His science advisor said she and Biden put ChatGPT to a few tasks, such as explaining a legal case.

After more than three decades in the Senate, eight years as vice president, and three presidential campaigns, you'd think nothing would surprise President Joe Biden.

Then, last spring, he tried out ChatGPT. A few months later, he signed sweeping legislation targeting the new technology.

Arati Prabhakar, Biden's chief science and technology advisor who's also the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told Wired she and Biden put the bot up to a few tasks.

First, she said, they asked it to explain a lawsuit between Delaware (the state Biden represented as a senator) and New Jersey (the home state of the singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, to whom Biden had just presented the National Medal of Arts) as if it was talking to a first grader. Straight away, the bot came out with words like "OK, kiddo," Prabhakar said.

Then, she said, they asked it to write a legal brief for a Supreme Court case, write a song in the style of Springsteen, and generate an image of Biden's dog, Commander, in the Oval Office.

"He was like, 'Wow, I can't believe it could do that,'" Prabhakar said of Biden.

But his first encounter with generative AI also sparked concern.

Prabhakar told Wired that Biden later asked the team to address the potential risks of AI, which led to the sweeping executive order he signed in October. The order requires major tech companies to adhere to certain safety guidelines, notify the federal government of their work, and share testing results.

Politico reported that Biden also told his cabinet at a meeting in early October that AI would touch the work of every department and agency. "The rest of the world is looking to us to lead the way," he said, according to the outlet.


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