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Executive Order Addresses AI Risk, Bankman-Fried Guilty Verdict, U.N. Votes on Cuba Embargo
Biden seeks to cut AI risk with executive order
President Biden is set to sign an executive order aimed at safeguarding Americans from potential AI system risks. The order mandates that AI developers share their safety-test results, known as red-team testing, with the federal government. Developers working on models posing significant national security, economic security, or public health and safety risks must notify and share their test results with the government before making them public. Rigorous standards for red-team testing will be set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, with the Department of Homeland Security applying these standards to critical infrastructure and establishing an AI Safety and Security Board. The order also seeks to address labor-market impacts of AI and develop options to support workers facing disruptions. Additionally, it aims to protect against AI-enabled fraud by creating content authentication and watermarking guidelines. The Department of Commerce will lead the effort to label AI-generated content for clarity. Further bipartisan legislation is expected to complement these actions.
Sam Bankman-Fried found guilty
Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX and former CEO, has been found guilty on all charges related to the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange. A New York jury in Manhattan federal court ruled that Bankman-Fried had defrauded investors, customers, and lenders in connection with the demise of his crypto businesses, including FTX and Alameda Research.
The charges against Bankman-Fried included two counts of wire fraud and five conspiracy counts, with a maximum potential sentence of 110 years in prison. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 28.
Bankman-Fried's defense counsel expressed disappointment with the verdict and indicated the intention to appeal, emphasizing that Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence.
During the trial, several key witnesses from Bankman-Fried's inner circle, including his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, and former FTX engineering chief Nishad Singh, testified against him after previously pleading guilty and cooperating with the government.
Bankman-Fried also took the stand in his own defense, acknowledging mistakes but denying allegations of fraud or theft.
The collapse of FTX in November 2022 occurred amid reports of merged assets with Alameda, prompting a mass withdrawal of customer funds and subsequent bankruptcy.
In addition to the fraud and conspiracy charges, Bankman-Fried faces accusations of violating campaign finance laws and allegedly bribing Chinese officials.
U.N. votes to end US embargo on Cuba; US and Israel oppose
The U.N. General Assembly has voted for the 31st consecutive year to condemn the American economic embargo of Cuba, with 187 member states in favor, the United States and Israel opposed, and Ukraine abstaining. The resolution, although non-binding and unenforceable, reflects global opinion and provides Cuba with an annual platform to highlight its isolation in the U.S.'s efforts to isolate the country.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez characterized the U.S. embargo as "the most cruel and long-lasting unilateral coercive measures" and an "act of economic warfare during times of peace." He claimed that the embargo aimed to weaken Cuba's economy, cause suffering among its people, and overthrow the government.
The embargo was initially imposed in 1960 after the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro and the nationalization of properties belonging to U.S. citizens and corporations. While there were some changes in U.S.-Cuba relations during the Obama administration, the Trump administration introduced new sanctions, and the Biden administration is accused of further strengthening measures against Cuba.
Cuba is currently facing a severe economic crisis, with shortages of various goods. However, it is also undergoing a transformation with the opening of small and medium-sized private companies since September 2021.
The U.S. deputy ambassador, Paul Folmsbee, defended the U.S. sanctions as part of a broader effort to promote democracy and respect for human rights in Cuba. He called for the release of political prisoners and urged Cuba to respond to requests from the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate its adherence to human rights, including freedom of expression, religion, and peaceful assembly.
There were sporadic negative reactions in the assembly chamber when Folmsbee concluded by urging the Cuban government to adhere to its human rights obligations and listen to the aspirations of the Cuban people regarding their future.
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