The past few weeks have been busy with government events and announcements on AI Policy.
The G20 on AI
Ministers from the Group of 20 major economies conducted meetings on trade and the digital economy. They produced guiding principles for using artificial intelligence based on principles adopted last month by the 36-member OECD and an additional six countries. The G20 guidelines call for users and developers of AI to be fair and accountable, with transparent decision-making processes and to respect the rule of law and values including privacy, equality, diversity and internationally recognized labor rights. Meanwhile, the principles also urge governments to ensure a fair transition for workers through training programs and access to new job opportunities.
Bipartisan Group of Legislators Act on “Deepfake” Videos
The senators introduced legislation Friday intended to lessen the threat posed by “deepfake” videos — those created with AI technologies to manipulate original videos and produce misleading information. With this legislation, the Department of Homeland Security would conduct an annual study of deepfakes and related content and require the department to assess the AI technologies used to create deepfakes. This could lead to changes to regulations or new regulations impacting the use of AI.
Hearing on Societal and Ethical Implications of AI
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a hearing. June 26th on the societal and ethical implications of artificial intelligence, now available on video.
The National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan, released in June, is an update of the report by the Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence of The National Science & Technology Council.
On February 11, 2019, the President signed Executive Order 13859 Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence. According to Michael Kratsios, Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Policy, this order “launched the American AI Initiative, which is a concerted effort to promote and protect AI technology and innovation in the United States. The Initiative implements a whole-of-government strategy in collaboration and engagement with the private sector, academia, the public, and likeminded international partners. Among other actions, key directives in the Initiative call for Federal agencies to prioritize AI research and development (R&D) investments, enhance access to high-quality cyberinfrastructure and data, ensure that the Nation leads in the development of technical standards for AI, and provide education and training opportunities to prepare the American workforce for the new era of AI.
“The first seven strategies continue from the 2016 Plan, reflecting the reaffirmation of the importance of these strategies by multiple respondents from the public and government, with no calls to remove any of the strategies. The eighth strategy is new and focuses on the increasing importance of effective partnerships between the Federal Government and academia, industry, other non-Federal entities, and international allies to generate technological breakthroughs in AI and to rapidly transition those breakthroughs into capabilities.”
Strategy 8: Expand Public–Private Partnerships to Accelerate Advances in AI is new in the June, 2019, plan and “reflects the growing importance of public-private partnerships enabling AI R&D an expands public-private partnerships to accelerate advances in AI. Promote opportunities for sustained investment in AI R&D and for transitioning advances into practical capabilities, in collaboration with academia, industry, international partners, and other non-Federal entities.”
Continued points from the seven Strategies in the previous Executive Order in February include
1. support for the development of instructional materials and teacher professional development in computer science at all levels, with emphasis at the K–12 levels
2. consideration of AI as a priority area within existing Federal fellowship and service programs
3. development AI techniques for human augmentation
4. emphasis on achieving trust: AI system designers need to create accurate, reliable systems with informative, user-friendly interfaces.
The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) is functioning again. NSTC is the principal means by which the Executive Branch coordinates science and technology policy across the diverse entities that make up the Federal research and development enterprise. A primary objective of the NSTC is to ensure that science and technology policy decisions and programs are consistent with the President’s stated goals. The NSTC prepares research and development strategies that are coordinated across Federal agencies aimed at accomplishing multiple national goals. The work of the NSTC is organized under committees that oversee subcommittees and working groups focused on different aspects of science and technology. More information is available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/nstc.
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) was established by the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 to provide the President and others within the Executive Office of the President with advice on the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of the economy, national security, homeland security, health, foreign relations, the environment, and the technological recovery and use of resources, among other topics. OSTP leads interagency science and technology policy coordination efforts, assists the Office of Management and Budget with an annual review and analysis of Federal research and development (R&D) in budgets, and serves as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the Federal Government. More information is available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp.
Groups that advise and assist the NSTC on AI include
* The Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence (AI) addresses Federal AI R&D activities, including those related to autonomous systems, biometric identification, computer vision, human computer interactions, machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics. The committee supports policy on technical, national AI workforce issues.
* The Subcommittee on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence monitors the state of the art in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence within the Federal Government, in the private sector, and internationally.
* The Artificial Intelligence Research & Development Interagency Working Group coordinates Federal R&D in AI and supports and coordinates activities tasked by the Select Committee on AI and the NSTC Subcommittee on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
More information is available at https://www.nitrd.gov/groups/AI.