Fox News host Laura Ingraham was forced to backtrack after she mocked President Joe Biden for calling the James Webb Space Telescope by its name – instead appearing to reveal that she did not know of its existence.
Mr Biden made remarks at the White House on Monday, mentioning the telescope as he spoke about his executive order outlining measures to be taken by the US government to guide the development of artificial intelligence.
“And AI is helping the National Weather Service predict weather events, helping ... the Webb Telescope manage half a million miles of galaxies away – billions of light-years away”.
“I found out when I was turning on my phone and saw that – I thought, ‘my God, what is this? Science fiction’,” he said to laughter.
“AI is helping millions of commuters find the shortest route home as well,” he added.
“But, you know, in some cases, AI is making life worse. For example, using teenagers’ personal data to figure out what will keep them glued to their devices, AI makes social media more addictive. It’s causing what our Surgeon General calls a ‘profound risk of harm’ to their mental health and well-being.”
Speaking on Fox News on Monday, Ms Ingraham poked fun at the president, laughing and suggesting that he was muddling things up.
“Did he call it the ‘Webb telescope’? Isn’t it the Hubble? Is he thinking of Webb-Hubble? I don’t understand,” she laughed.
Moments later, she backtracked, revealing that it was in fact she who was muddled up.
Ms Ingraham acknowledged that “there is a Webb telescope that I didn’t know about”.
“I stand corrected by Joe Biden,” she added.
The James Webb Space Telescope was launched on Christmas 2021. It’s more advanced than the older Hubble telescope, which remains in use.
The White House said on Monday that its sweeping executive order about AI will address concerns about safety and security, privacy, equity and civil rights, the rights of consumers, patients, and students, and supporting workers.
The order will also hand a list of tasks to federal agencies to oversee the development of the technology.
“We can’t move at a normal government pace,” White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients quoted Mr Biden as telling his staff, according to The Associated Press. “We have to move as fast, if not faster than the technology itself.”
Mr Biden believes that the US government was late to the game to take into account the risks of social media, leading to related mental health issues now seen among young people across America.
At several gatherings, Mr Biden has pushed tech industry leaders and advocates regarding what the technology is capable of.T
Deputy White House Chief of Staff Bruce Reed told The AP that Mr Biden “was as impressed and alarmed as anyone”.
“He saw fake AI images of himself, of his dog,” he added. “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.”
The AI-created images and audio prompted Mr Biden to push for the labelling of AI-created content. He was also concerned about older people getting a phone call from an AI tool using a fake voice sounding like a family member or other loved one for the purpose of committing a scam, he said.