The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) director said on Tuesday that artificial intelligence (AI) is a daunting but phenomenal resource that is developing “much more rapidly than society is prepared to absorb.”

“We can see how powerful [and] positive [AI is] going to be,” Arati Prabhakar said at ITI’s Intersect 2023 tech policy event on Jan. 31 in Washington. “But we are also living in a society where we can see many of the dark sides,” she said.

Prabhakar continued, adding, “Ultimately the challenge is how do we create and then wield these powerful technologies that will then take us into the future.”

The Biden-Harris administration has made technological advancement a priority, and the OSTP director gave a special shout out to her boss, President Biden, crediting him for bringing great energy and interest to science and technology innovation.

“This is the president who lights up about what science and technology can do, and how it’s enabling us to move forward,” she said.

Prabhakar specifically touched on Biden’s enthusiasm for the CHIPS and Science Act, noting that the legislation is an essential key to national security that has been needed for decades.

“I’m very hopeful,” she said of the implementation of the 2022 bill. “I think this is a serious effort that’s being pursued in very serious ways.”

“It’s getting a lot of White House attention to back up our agencies,” she said.

Prabhakar also highlighted the Inflation Reduction Act as key legislation to leverage technology and innovation in the fight against climate change.

“We can’t solve any of our big problems without technology, and climate is great example,” she said.

Prabhakar highlighted the Biden administration’s Hope and Resilience Agenda, noting that “[we can use] information technology to help us understand where the risks are.”

“Science and technology is integral to our country and the aspirations that we have in this country,” the tech leader said. “And it will always be integral.”

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.