New AI tools are helping to improve online search, but we must all still evaluate a flood of information. This is especially a challenge for young students, who must learn to distinguish among sources of information when doing school assignments, learning on their own, or even shopping. To help meet this challenge, Microsoft offers unique tools for classrooms called Search Coach and Search Progress. These educational apps help students form effective queries, evaluate search results, and identify misinformation. Engadget writes about this education technology here. You can also learn more on the Microsoft Education Blog and in this story.
Below please find links to this week’s tech policy news as well as a featured podcast. Thank you!
This Week in Washington
- CyberScoop: The U.S. government is stepping up its effort to combat threats from foreign technology investments, data acquisition and cyberattacks with a new collaboration between the Departments of Justice and Commerce that will be called the “Disruptive Technology Strike Force.”
- Nextgov: Increasing geopolitical tensions, vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure and a patchwork of needed regulations are some of the factors contributing to a host of cybersecurity threats facing the public and private sectors in the new year, a panel of experts said during an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center.
- Reuters: Legislation recently proposed in the previous Congress that would shield certain federal grants for broadband internet deployment projects from taxation has been reintroduced in both chambers.
- StateScoop: Broadband expansion is the goal of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s $42.5 billion Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment grant program, but the initiative won’t be successful without a sufficient focus on digital equity and community engagement, NTIA officials said at the National Association of Counties’ annual legislative conference in Washington.
- The Hill and ABC News: Newly introduced legislation entitled the Making Age-Verification Technology Uniform, Robust, and Effective (MATURE) Act, would require social media companies to not allow a person to make an account unless the platform verifies that the user is at least 16 years old. Democrats and Republicans joined together on Tuesday in a renewed push to pass federal legislation aimed at safeguarding young people using the internet.
- Fronteras: Lawmakers in Washington have again introduced the Dream Act, which if passed could give almost 2 million undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children a path to U.S. citizenship, including some 600,000 recipients of the Obama-era DACA program.
- Bloomberg: Microsoft Corp. reported its initial findings after a week of testing new artificial intelligence additions to its Bing search engine with users from more than 169 countries. AI-powered answers have earned the approval of 71% of testers and chat has proven a popular addition that’s deepened engagement.
- Washington Post: Nearly a year into Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, the world has learned much about both the capabilities and limits of hacking in wartime.
- GCN: The rollout of funding for new broadband infrastructure could create thousands of new jobs across the United States, but with the current shortage of tech workers, experts last week said governments will need to get creative to fill those vacancies.
- Axios: A group of Austin-based, ethical hackers have become the first hacking collective to join a formal, global reporting program for disclosing software flaws.
Tools and Weapons with Brad Smith
- Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne
Brad and Carol Ann discovered that riding in an autonomous vehicle as it learns to navigate the streets of London can be a bit nerve-wracking. But these hands-on experiences are crucial to understanding the impact that AI’s sudden surge has on everyday life at the intersection of technology and society. In this episode, Brad’s co-author, chief of staff, and long-time colleague Carol Ann Browne puts him in the hot seat to discuss the tech issues and trends that they are witnessing together in real time. They discuss the war in Ukraine, the global economy, climate change, and why responsibility must be at the center of AI development. (Carol Ann Browne: Turning the tables on Brad Smith – February 15, 2023)