What just happened? Many in the tech industry have weighed in with their opinion on AI. Now, President Joe Biden has given his views on the subject. POTUS said it remains to be seen whether artificial intelligence is dangerous, and that companies have a responsibility to ensure their AI products are safe before being released to the public.

Generative AIs such as ChatGPT have exploded in popularity over the last few months, bringing excitement about their potential benefits and concerns over their use for malicious purposes. The impact they could have on jobs is also a worry; a recent report claims that 300 million full-time positions worldwide might be affected by generative AIs.

In a meeting with the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which includes executives from Microsoft and Google alongside academics, Biden said that while AI could help with some of society's biggest challenges, such as disease and climate change, it must also address the potential risks it presents to society, national security, and the economy.

This week, Italy became the first Western country to ban ChatGPT over its collection and processing of personal data for training, the lack of age restrictions, and occasional factually incorrect responses. The Italian Data Protection Watchdog also cited the recent bug that saw the titles of user queries exposed. Germany is also considering a ban, and EU lawmakers are trying to introduce new rules limiting high-risk AI products.

ChatGPT and similar generative AIs appear safe from a ban in the US for now, though Biden isn't convinced that the technology is without its risks. When asked if AI is dangerous, he said, "It remains to be seen. Could be."

"Tech companies have a responsibility, in my view, to ensure their products are safe before making them public," Biden added.

The dangers of any AI without safeguards have been repeatedly highlighted. Biden compared this problem to social media, which he said has already caused harm due to a lack of certain restrictions. "Absent safeguards, we see the impact on the mental health and self-images and feelings and hopelessness, especially among young people," Biden said.

Elsewhere, Biden reiterated some of his State of the Union address, calling for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to stop tech giants from collecting personal data on under-18s online, ban targeted advertising to children, and impose stricter limits on the personal data companies collect.

While it doesn't appear that the meeting will lead to any AI-related policies, Russell Wald, managing director of policy and society at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, told AP that Biden "is setting the stage for a national dialogue on the topic by elevating attention to AI, which is desperately needed."