FOR THE WEEK OF NOV. 06, 2023
Share a quote or fact from a news story or opinion column about A.I.
Summarize or comment on another technology article.
What school subjects are a foundation for computer science careers?
With an eye on potential long-term risks from the rapid spread of artificial intelligence in business, education, research and government, the White House last week issued a presidential order with rules for the technology's "safe, secure and trustworthy development and use." President Biden said: "In some cases, AI is making life worse." Companies now must share safety information about their systems in advance to make sure they don't pose a safety or a national security risk, and also must hide any personal data. A watermark has to clearly label AI-generated content. President Biden also ordered the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to secure critical infrastructure. Another requirement is that federal agencies protect civil rights and liberties when they use AI, though national security systems are exempt.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a nonprofit research group in Washington, D.C., applauds the lengthy order, saying: "The United States is demonstrating it takes AI oversight seriously." A critic, former Microsoft executive Steve Sinofsky, says the directive "is about stifling innovation."
Shortly after the White House announcement, Vice President Kamala Harris flew to England for a two-day Global Summit on AI Safety. "We reject the false choice that suggests we can either protect the public or advance innovation. We can – and we must – do both," she said in London. "And we must do so swiftly, as this technology rapidly advances." One concern is that super-powered AI could be used in cyberattacks that interrupt the global internet.
Computer industry leaders also worry. More than 1,000 technology executives and researchers last March artificial intelligence labs to pause development of the most advanced systems, warning in an open letter that such tools present “profound risks to society and humanity.”
Biden says he'll ask for legislation to stop technology companies from collecting the personal data of children and teenagers, to ban advertising directed at children, and to limit companies’ collection of personal data in general. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., is among those pushing for action: "Congress' delay in passing a strong national data privacy standard risks the U.S. falling further behind other countries and dilutes America's longstanding global technology leadership," she said last week. "Privacy goes beyond just artificial intelligence." But the politically divided Congress "is very unlikely to produce any meaningful AI legislation in the near future," according to Anu Bradford, a law professor at Columbia University in New York.
President says: "We're going to see more technological change in the next 10 -- maybe the next 5 -- years than we've seen in the last 50 years. . . . Artificial intelligence is accelerating that change. It's going to accelerate it at warp speed." – White House statement, Oct. 30
Liberties group says: "The order fails to meaningfully address AI use in national security and offers insufficient protection from law enforcement uses of AI – critical federal programs that carry some of the greatest risks." -- American Civil Liberties Union
Tech executive says: "This marks an important step toward responsibly developing and deploying AI in ways that benefit everyone." – Kent Walker, president of Google