AI Enlisted in Historical Preservation

Eighty years ago yesterday—June 6, 1944, known as D-Day—world history hung in the balance. By this time today 80 years ago, Allied forces had a foothold in northern France, and the end of WWII in the European theater was in sight. Now AI is becoming a valuable tool to help preserve this critical chapter of history. In addition, AI innovations are enabling the creation of 3D digital twins of endangered cities, monuments, and natural environments. Learn more about these compelling uses of AI here. You can also explore The Thread of Memory, a digital experience enhanced by AI that vividly details the 1944 liberation of France.

Thank you for reading. You’ll find this week’s roundup of tech policy news and a featured podcast below.

This Week in Washington 

The Hill and NPR: More than a dozen internet service providers agreed to continue offering discounted internet plans to low-income households through the end of 2024 after the federal Affordable Connectivity Program subsidizing the discounts comes to an end. AT&T, Comcast, Cox, Spectrum, Verizon, and nine other providers will continue offering their $30 or less plans to those currently enrolled in the ACP, and to other eligible households. And on NPR’s Morning Edition, a look at how ACP’s expiration may negatively affect rural Americans’ healthcare. 

Politico: The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice share authority in enforcing U.S. antitrust law. This week news broke that the two authorities are poised to divide competition investigations of leading AI companies. The DOJ will investigate Nvidia and its leading position of supplying semiconductors for AI, and the FTC will examine Microsoft and OpenAI’s collaboration in developing large language models. 

NextGov and CyberScoop: An August 2023 White House request for information on cybersecurity regulatory harmonization received nearly 90 responses, and now, the Biden administration is calling for an overhaul of standards. National Cyber Director Harry Coker zoomed in on inconsistent or duplicative requirements that force firms to draw money from cybersecurity programs into compliance spending, saying they prevent the private sector from fully shoring up its cyberdefenses, according to industry feedback. And during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing, the White House’s assistant national cyber director for cyber policy and programs agreed that Congressional action is needed.

StateScoop: Professional associations representing state and local governments urged Congress to preserve $100 million in upcoming cybersecurity funding already approved through the State and Local Cyber Security Grant Program. A letter signed by seven groups — including the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, the National Governors Association and the National League of Cities — asked for continued dispersal of the $1 billion in cybersecurity funding authorized by 2021’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Broadband Breakfast: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is likely to adopt an order that will provide millions of dollars to fund a pilot program intended to harden schools and libraries against cyberattacks that can cripple critical online services for days at a time. The proposal, first introduced last November, will provide $200 million in Universal Service Fund support to evaluate effective firewall services and subsidize cybersecurity software for K-12 schools and libraries over a three-year period.

CNET: In March, the FCC voted that the definition of broadband was outdated, increasing the threshold from 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speed to 100/20Mbps – the first time the agency raised the speed requirement in nearly a decade. CNET explains why it matters after commissioners had worked for nearly a decade to change the definition.

Washington Post: The director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy is profiled

Article Summary

The Wall Street Journal: New legislation in New York would prohibit social media companies from using algorithms to steer content to children or sending them notifications during overnight hours without parental consent. Critics say the feeds lead children to violent and sexually explicit content.

NBC News: University of California San Francisco scientists developed a bilingual brain implant to help a stroke survivor communicate in both Spanish and English. Under the leadership of a neurosurgeon who serves as co-director of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses, the man received a neural implant in February 2019, and researchers have now used AI to train the implant on his brain’s English, Spanish, and bilingual activity, allowing the implant to help him communicate in both languages.

Featured Podcast

TED Tech
How is AI changing the nature of human imagination and creativity? Through a mind-bending tour of new techniques, he’s been tinkering with, creative technologist Bilawal Sidhu shows how anyone can use AI-powered tools — like 3D scans that let you redesign the physical world in real-time — to expand the possibilities of artistic expression, often within just minutes. (The AI-powered tools supercharging your imagination | Bilawal Sidhu – May 24, 2024)