Facebook parent Meta wants the world to know it’s serious about artificial intelligence. On its earnings call last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “A.I.” more than 20 times during his opening presentation, and CFO Susan Li said the company expects to spend about $30 this year to support an “ongoing build-out of AI capacity.” Last month, Zuckerberg said the company’s “single largest investment” is in advancing A.I. and “building it into every one of our products.” The White House either didn’t get the message or didn’t take it seriously: Just look at the guest list of CEOs invited to discuss A.I. at the White House yesterday.

Zuckerberg was not included—a glaring omission given Meta’s position in the tech world. 

By way of explanation, a Biden administration official said that the meeting was “focused on companies currently leading in the space, especially on the consumer-facing product side,” according to CNN. Ouch.

Vice President Kamala Harris and other administration officials discussed the need to ethically and responsibly develop A.I. with the CEOs of Google, Microsoft, OpenAI, and Anthropic. President Joe Biden stopped by the meeting as well, according to CNN. 

The White House listed among its A.I. concerns automation leading to job losses, new tricks for hackers, and deepfakes and misinformation that could undermine the democratic process, as well as physical dangers from autonomous vehicles.

“There’s a lot the federal government can do to make sure we get A.I. right, but we also need companies and innovators to be our partners in this work,” a senior administration official said in a press briefing yesterday. “Tech companies have a fundamental responsibility to make sure their products are safe and secure and that they protect people’s rights before they’re deployed or made public.”

Given the prominence of Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram—and Meta’s clear intention to prioritize A.I.—an invite for Zuckerberg would seem like a no-brainer. Not that everything has gone smoothly on the A.I. front for Meta: Last week, Reuters reported that it had obtained an internal memo from last September in which Meta executives discussed having been late to adopt A.I.-friendly hardware, leading to slower A.I. development and a computing crunch at the company.

Still, Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth told Nikkei Asia earlier this month that Meta has been investing in A.I. for “over a decade,” has “one of the leading research institutes in the world,” and will commercialize its generative A.I. by December.

 Zuckerberg’s omission yesterday isn’t the first time a big-name CEO wasn’t invited to an important meeting at the Biden White House. 

Curiously absent from an August 2021 meeting with Biden on electric vehicles was Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose carmaker is clearly the leader in the EV field. Musk tweeted, “Yeah, seems odd that Tesla wasn’t invited.” 

Asked about the omission, then press secretary Jen Psaki noted that it was the three largest employers of United Auto Workers members who stood with Biden when he announced new EV targets. Musk has discouraged unions at Tesla. 

Yesterday the White House said it would introduce policies that shape how federal agencies procure and use A.I. systems, which could influence the market for A.I. products and shape how Americans interact with A.I. on government websites, at security checkpoints, and in other settings.

Fortune reached out to Meta for comments but did not receive an immediate reply.





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