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Joe Biden Issued Executive Order After "Mission: Impossible" Scared Him, White House Says

The action movie made the present more concerned about the ramifications of artificial intelligence.

President Joe Biden just took action in an attempt to keep Americans protected from artificial intelligence, and it turns out he was inspired by a blockbuster movie you may have seen this year. On Monday, Oct. 30, he signed the Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence. According to the Associated Press, the order is intended to balance the development of new technologies with the risks that they pose to citizens. "AI is all around us," Biden said while signing the order. "To realize the promise of AI and avoid the risk, we need to govern this technology."

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While it makes sense that now would be the time for government action on AI—this year saw the rise and more widespread usage of AI technology, including ChatGPT—Biden was also influenced by a film that hit theaters this summer. White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed said that watching Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning at Camp David made the president more worried about AI.

"If he hadn't already been concerned about what could go wrong with AI before that movie, he saw plenty more to worry about," Reed said, as reported by the Associated Press.

In the latest Mission: Impossible movie, the threat Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team are battling is "the Entity," a sentient AI that various world governments are seeking to control. The plot is not resolved in the course of runtime, and the story will continue when the eighth Mission: Impossible film is released in May 2025.

Cruise himself has spoken out about the use of AI in Hollywood filmmaking and how actors can be protected and still compensated for their work. It's been a key topic in the ongoing negotiations between the actors' union SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, in which he's participated, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Per the AP, Reed also said that Biden grew "alarmed" after learning more about artificial intelligence in multiple meetings leading up to the executive order.

"He 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."

According to the AP, the new executive order will require AI developers to share safety test results with the government, for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to ensure new AI developments are safe before they are released to the public, and for the Commerce Department to share guidance on labeling AI content to make it clear it is not real, among other requirements.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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