A Glimpse at One Transformative Use of AI

We’ve been highlighting a lot of news this year about AI focused on emerging discussions about policies aimed at making AI safe, secure, and trustworthy. Today, we want to spotlight a story about one transformative use of AI that shows the potential of this rapidly developing technology.

In a recent piece in Slate, writer Milagros Costabel, who was born with total blindness, shares how a new generative AI tool that describes photos in sharp detail has enabled her to be “in a world where nothing was off limits.” The tool is also allowing her to connect with her past and “understand decades-old photos in new ways.” Costabel provides some cautions as well, but her uplifting story is worth reading.

You’ll find this week’s tech policy news highlights and a featured podcast below. Thank you.

This Week in Washington 

  • The New York Times: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to move forward with a proposal to restore open internet rules. These net neutrality regulations would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or slowing down services on their networks. Both Republican lawmakers and telecommunications companies who provide broadband have pushed back, believing these regulations would place the burden on broadband providers. 
  • Washington Post: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revoked a memo on a rule requiring states to evaluate the cybersecurity of water systems when conducting sanitation surveys after a court placed a hold on the initiative. The rule was a part of the Biden administration’s national security strategy that calls on agencies to use any existing authorities to put minimum cybersecurity standards in place. 
  • Bleeping Computer: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released additional details concerning misconfigurations and security vulnerabilities exploited by ransomware gangs as part of its Ransomware Vulnerability Warning Pilot (RVWP) program. CISA, along with the FBI, and MS-ISAC have also warned network admins to immediately patch their Atlassian Confluence servers to protect against a flaw that is actively exploited in attacks.
  • CyberScoop: A report from the Government Accountability Office found that 14 federal agencies have failed to incorporate privacy into their risk management strategies, despite standards for them to do so being established nearly five years ago. Their inability to implement these strategies has privacy experts concerned over the federal government’s ability to handle a growing body of data, believing it is ill-prepared.
  • Axios: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) has unveiled an update to its secure-by-design principles to provide clarity on how software managers can implement them to build better cybersecurity into their products.
  • Reuters: The Biden administration will halt shipments of Nvidia’s AI chips to China to prevent the nation from receiving cutting-edge U.S. technologies that could strengthen its military. The new measure will also restrict the shipment of advanced chips and chipmaking tools to other countries, such as Iran and Russia, and close loopholes in regulations that were released last October.
  • Reuters: The Supreme Court has maintained a block on restrictions imposed by a lower court regarding the ability of the Biden administration to communicate with social media companies and encourage them to remove harmful content, including misinformation, giving the justices more time to consider the administration’s request to block the injunction.
  • Fierce Telecom: A new public dashboard has been launched by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that showcases the status of each state’s and territory’s Initial Proposal for the Broadband Equity Access and Development (BEAD) program.

Article Summary

  • The Verge: Microsoft announced that Windows 11 will soon allow some users with hearing aids to take calls, listen to music, and stream audio from their PCs. The new accessibility feature will also come with privacy updates, so users will receive notifications when an app attempts to access their location or Wi-Fi.
  • NPR: AT&T has partnered with Gallaudet University, a school for deaf and hard of hearing students, to produce a first-of-its-kind football helmet that will utilize an augmented reality screen to allow coaches to transmit plays to their quarterback.
  • The Wall Street Journal: While speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference, prominent tech leaders, including OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, discussed how AI could likely lead to a seismic change in the workforce and potentially impact some industries and workers more than others.
  • Bloomberg: TikTok is fighting back against the EU courts after regulators brought a $363 million fine against the platform for neglecting to take care of the private data of its teenage users. The popular platform is also challenging an order by its lead data regulator in Ireland to eliminate “deceptive or manipulative” practices that could undermine privacy.
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Greene County commissioners and other elected officials unveiled a $5.2 million project that will bring high-speed internet to an isolated area of Pennsylvania. They will be partnering with Kinetic by Windstream, a communications and software company in Lexington, KY, which will contribute $2.7 million to the project to reach nearly 800 homes with fiber optic cables.
  • Government Technology: California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill aiming to improve broadband information maps. This bill will help to show where broadband service is available and allow customers to self-report the speed, the price they pay, and barriers they face with their internet.

Featured Podcast


  • Worklab
    Christina Wallace is a Harvard Business School instructor, serial entrepreneur, and author of the book The Portfolio Life. In this episode of WorkLab, Wallace discusses how leaders and individuals need to rethink careers and personal growth in AI-powered work. She is the third guest for season 5 of the WorkLab podcast, in which host Molly Wood has conversations with economists, technologists, and researchers who explore the data and insights about the work trends you need to know today—from how to use AI effectively to what it takes to thrive in a digital age. (Harvard Business School’s Christina Wallace on How AI Can Help Us Rebalance Our Lives – October 18, 2023)