The (current) White House Weighs in on AI Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality
On October 12th the White House released Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence, its report on the opportunities, considerations and challenges of Artificial Intelligence (AI). And we’re still waiting on the release date for the Preparing for the Future of Intelligent Politicians report. Cue the rimshot, please.
The 58-page report follows public-outreach conducted by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and addresses the past, present and future of AI. (Spoiler Alert: no killer robots.) Areas of focus include:
- Applications of AI for the Public Good
- AI and Regulation
- AI’s Impact on the Workforce and Economy
- Fairness, Safety and Governance
- Global Considerations and Security
All said, the report approaches AI with optimism, stating that it has the potential to “solve some of the world’s greatest challenges and inefficiencies” while making the world “healthier, more prosperous, more equitable, and more secure.”After all, “if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too.”
While the report embraces the positives, it does acknowledge that monitoring is necessary to ensure transparency, efficacy and fairness.(Killer robots once again are not mentioned, but arguably implied.) The necessity of expanded engagement and global oversight also factor in some of the report’s more interesting recommendations, such as:
- Recommendation 10: The NSTC Subcommittee on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence should monitor developments in AI, and report regularly to senior Administration leadership about the status of AI, especially with regard to milestones.
- Recommendation 11: The Government should monitor the state of AI in other countries, especially with respect to milestones.
- Recommendation 12: Industry should work with government to keep government updated on the general progress of AI in industry, including the likelihood of milestones being reached soon.
- Recommendation 21: The U.S. Government should deepen its engagement with key international stakeholders, including foreign governments, international organizations, industry, academia, and others, to exchange information and facilitate collaboration on AI R&D.
- Recommendation 23: The U.S. Government should complete the development of a single, government-wide policy, consistent with international humanitarian law, on autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons.
Overall, the report’s recommendations fall in line with statements by Obama in the October issue of Wired, and issue which Obama also guest-edited. Discussing the regulatory structure of emerging AI with Joi Ito of MIT and Wired Editor Scott Dadich, Obama stated “the government should add a relatively light touch, investing heavily in research and making sure there’s a conversation between basic research and applied research.”
Obama did offer a small, that’s-not-comforting-at-all-oh-noes consolation to those of us who may worry the robot apocalypse. And by those of us, I mean Elon Musk. Like a mom who calms your fears about monsters under the bed by pointing out that the closet would be the more logical hiding place, Obama tucks us in by saying “Don’t worry as much yet about machines taking over the world. Worry about the capacity of hostile actors to penetrate systems.”