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Gina Raimondo’s next big task: artificial intelligence

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met with Chinese premier Li Qiang in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in August.ANDY WONG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

If it kind of feels like former Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo is everywhere these days, it’s because she is.

The US commerce secretary made a high-profile visit to China — and ended up with her picture on phone cases — earlier this month, and on Tuesday she was striking a deal with eight major companies that work in the artificial intelligence space to embrace safety within the technology.

Those companies are Adobe, IBM, Nvidia, Palantir, Stability, Salesforce, Scale AI, and Cohere. In July, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft signed the same agreement.

The voluntary deal includes a watermarking system that lets users know when content is AI-generated, asks participants to issue public reports about their AI capabilities, and ensures that the companies are committing to rigorous security standards.


The government doesn’t currently have regulations around AI in place, although the Biden administration is reportedly crafting an executive order related to the technology. Members of Congress have also been meeting with tech CEOs about the issue.

On Wednesday, Elon Musk, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates are among the tech titans expected to appear at a closed-door meeting with all 100 members of the US Senate to discuss AI.

Per usual, Raimondo appears likely to play a major role in AI conversations going forward. She has earned the trust of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and she is likely the member of Biden’s cabinet most beloved by the business community.

Raimondo has been signaling that she intends to dive into the AI discussion all summer. In July, she and Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote an op-ed in The Financial Times arguing that the US and its allies need to “act quickly” and “collectively” to shape the future of AI.

”The future of AI — whether it makes our societies more or less equitable, unlocks breakthroughs or becomes a tool of authoritarians — is up to us,” Raimondo and Blinken wrote. “The question is not whether to use it, but how.”


This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, links to interesting stories, and more. If you’d like to receive it via email Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him @danmcgowan.