THIS WEEK IN WASHINGTON
Wired White House Favors a Light Touch in Regulating AI
The White House has issued principles for regulating the use of artificial intelligence that call for as little government interference as possible and offer only broad guidance to federal agencies. In fact, the principles might deter regulation of AI at a time when many think it is increasingly needed.
The Hill DHS issues bulletin warning of potential Iranian cyberattack
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a bulletin this week through its National Terrorism Advisory System warning of Iran’s ability to carry out cyberattacks with “disruptive effects” against critical U.S. infrastructure.
Reuters U.S. legislation on spread of cyber tools passes after Reuters investigation
Newly passed legislation will push the U.S. State Department to disclose how it polices the sale of cyber tools and services abroad. The move followed a Reuters investigation which revealed that American intelligence contractors clandestinely assisted a foreign spying operation in the United Arab Emirates, helping the monarchy to crack down on internal dissent.
Politico Facebook debates fakery on the Hill
Many eyes are on a House hearing this morning where a Facebook executive and other experts will testify on the threat of online manipulation and deception, including through deepfakes. The grilling comes just two days after Facebook announced it would remove certain types of deepfake videos, including manipulated media in political ads. That policy update drew swift backlash from critics, especially Democrats, who say the company is still letting bogus content flourish. Expect more today from lawmakers on the Energy and Commerce consumer protection subcommittee.
The Chemical Engineer ‘Artificial leaf’ for carbon neutral syngas production
Researchers at the University of Cambridge, UK, have demonstrated simple and sustainable syngas production using a carbon neutral “artificial leaf” device, setting a new benchmark in the field of solar fuels. Syngas, or synthetic gas, is a mixture primarily consisting of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2), used in the production of a variety of products such as fuels, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and fertilisers.
CNBC California’s new privacy law puts billions worth of personal data under protection
Whether or not you live in California, you’ve likely received something in your inbox about new privacy notices from one of the various companies you’ve interacted with, such as Lyft, Spotify and Hulu.
Broadcasting + Cable Microsoft Pushes FCC to Act on White Spaces Petition
Microsoft is telling the FCC that wireless internet providers have been able to boost their throughput tenfold using the TV white spaces Microsoft wants more of, and said the FCC should act on its proposal seeking tweaks to the current white spaces regime.
The Daily Star Arguments for using AI to combat climate change
According to a report published by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in 2018 the average global temperature was recorded to be the fourth highest on record. Based on five separately conserved data sets on global temperature, the WMO report shows that the global average temperature in the first 10 months of 2018 was nearly 1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline, i.e., 1850-1900.
NewsOne Entrepreneur Promotes Tech Education Through Interactive Computer Science Doll
When Nigerian-born software engineer Bukola Somide worked in corporate America, she would often be the only woman or Black person sitting in the board room during meetings; a common experience for women of color in the field as they make up a mere 3 percent of the tech workforce.
Forbes AI And Girls: Not Repeating The Past
There is growing awareness that AI skills are critical to the next generation of global economic development. AI can also help increase a girl’s interest in STEM. This article explores the unique attributes of AI that, if properly harnessed, could serve a dual purpose: help prevent the STEM gender gap from continuing into AI, and use AI as a positive force for STEM interest.
KVRR Local News USDA Provides Loans and Grants to help ‘ReConnect’ Rural North Dakota
Over 2,000 households are set to receive gigabit internet access after grants from the USDA will help expand fiber projects in rural North Dakota. The grants are part of the ReConnect pilot program, which will provide $23 million in grants and loans to rural North Dakota telecom cooperatives to expand their coverage to cover nearly 2000 miles of un-serviced land.
Bloomberg Microsoft Releases Chat Scanner to Detect Child Sex Predators
Microsoft Corp. will share a tool it’s been using on its Xbox gaming service to scan online text chats and detect adults seeking to groom and exploit children for sexual purposes. Codenamed Project Artemis, the technique combs through historical messages and looks for indicative patterns and characteristics before assigning a probability rating. That can then be used by companies to decide which conversations on their platforms should get a closer look by a human moderator, wrote Courtney Gregoire, Microsoft’s chief digital safety officer, in a blog post.
Ars Technica AT&T et al. fight against higher upload speeds in $20-billion FCC program
AT&T, Frontier, Windstream, and their industry lobby group are fighting against higher Internet speeds in a US subsidy program for rural areas without good broadband access. The Federal Communications Commission’s plan for the next version of its rural-broadband fund sets 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload as the “baseline” tier. ISPs seem to be onboard with that baseline level for the planned Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.
THINK TANK/TECH TRADE ASSOCIATION HIGHLIGHTS
The Brookings Institution
Deepfake Technology in Politics
Nov. 25, an article headlined “Spot the deepfake. (It’s getting harder.)” appeared on the front page of The New York Times business section. The editors would not have placed this piece on the front page a year ago. If they had, few would have understood what its headline meant. Today, most do. This technology, one of the most worrying fruits of rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), allows those who wield it to create audio and video representations of real people saying and doing made-up things. (Research – Is seeing still believing? The deepfake challenge to truth in politics, January 8, 2020)
Note: Voices for Innovation regularly shares a range of opinion articles and press releases from organizations in and publications covering tech policy. These pieces are meant to educate our audience, not to endorse specific platforms or bills.