AI’s Role in Sustainability

First, ICYMI last week, please check out VFI’s latest blog, which includes a video and Q&A with VFI advocate RJ Naugle, who discusses his company’s Homeless Navigation Application (NAVApp). This is a great #TechForGood story.
Yesterday, Microsoft published “Accelerating Sustainability with AI: A Playbook,” which provides a deep dive into ways that AI can accelerate climate progress. You can read the Playbook’s forward in this blog and access the entire Playbook here.
Now here’s our roundup of this week’s tech policy news and a featured podcast. Thank you.

This Week in Washington 

  • CBS News: The Senate voted to pass a two-tiered short-term funding bill, avoiding a government shutdown and stalling further debates on spending until early next year.
  • Nextgov/FCW: General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) recently surveyed 200 federal officials involved in cyber decisions and found that AI could help them overcome the challenges related to data, human oversight, and staffing.
  • The Hill: Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Artificial Intelligence Research, Innovation, and Accountability Act of 2023, a bipartisan bill that will direct federal agencies to create standards that provide transparency and accountability for AI tools.
  • Roll Call: The Senate Agriculture Committee is looking at the potential benefits and risks AI could bring to farms across the country. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) shared that provisions for the Agricultural Department to provide loans for farmers in an effort to encourage the adoption of emerging technology will likely make their way into the bill. 
  • CyberScoop: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) unveiled a roadmap underscoring the importance of “secure by design” principles that will guide their efforts to guard critical infrastructure against threats posed by AI, prevent misuse of the technology, and boost the agency’s AI talent.
  • Roll Call: Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, announced that the Senate is on track to pass a package of child online safety measures this year, including the Kids Online Safety Act, despite setbacks in previous years.
  • Broadband Breakfast and NBC News: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved digital discrimination rules that will take a stronger stance against companies that provide disparate broadband services and ensure policies are not intentionally denying service to protected groups. The FCC also passed other orders, including the 2022 Safe Connections Act, which will require mobile providers to protect the privacy of domestic abuse survivors.
  • CyberScoop: Harry Coker, the former National Security Agency Executive Director and CIA officer, is one step closer to becoming the next national cyber director after the Senate Homeland and Government Affairs Committee advanced his nomination.

Article Summary

  • Microsoft: During Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft unveiled two custom-designed AI chips and integrated systems that will help them deliver infrastructure systems designed from the top down and optimized with internal and customer workloads in mind.
  • NPR and FedScoop: YouTube will soon require creators to label when their content uses AI to create realistic-looking altered or synthetic videos, building upon a previous policy that requires political ads that use the technology to carry a disclosure. Meta, another social media giant, has also released new rules for AI-generated content in political advertisements heading into the 2024 election.
  • StateScoop: The Public Technology Institute’s Local Government Cybersecurity National Survey found that while cybersecurity is a top priority for local officials, two-thirds believe their funding is inadequate to support their cyber programs.
  • The Washington Post: Meta is pushing back on the calls from state and federal policymakers for individual sites to screen kids and limit their use of social media platforms to curb safety concerns by proposing app store requirements to notify parents when their teen wants to download an app.
  • Reuters: Nepal became the latest country to ban TikTok, claiming that misuse of the app has disrupted social harmony and goodwill, causing a rising demand to control it.
  • Spectrum News 1: To help close the digital divide, Charter Communications announced that nearly $750 million will help expand broadband to more than 60 unserved or underserved rural counties in Ohio. 

Featured Podcast

Microsoft Pivotal

  • How Nota is using AI to spring an oasis for our news deserts​
    Local journalism has long been the linchpin that connects people to their communities and to the nation at large. Those diverse local perspectives are critical for providing a sense of place and including everyone in the national dialogue. But across the U.S., journalism has become imperiled as news outlets dry up and go out of business — and those remaining are being asked to do more with less. In this episode, Josh Brandau of Nota talks about his lifelong passion for the news, and how Nota is using AI tools to help newsrooms thrive in the digital age and allow journalists to focus on their craft. (How Nota is using AI to spring an oasis for our news deserts – November 14, 2023)