Microsoft Releases Responsible AI Transparency Report

Earlier this week, Microsoft released its inaugural annual Responsible AI Transparency Report. You can find the foreword here and the full report here. The report details the company’s practices and policies for developing responsible, accountable AI.

Notably, the report highlights the ways that public policy is playing a role in fostering a safe, trustworthy AI ecosystem. Microsoft’s practices, for instance, align with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) AI Risk Management Framework. Microsoft is also participating in the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR), a federal effort to support AI research and risk mitigation in academia. We encourage you to explore the report.

Thank you for reading. We expect Congress to continue to focus on tech policy in the coming months. Here are this week’s tech policy news highlights…

This Week in Washington 

  • CyberScoop: Federal government agencies continue their commitment to filling thousands of open cybersecurity and other tech jobs by pivoting to skills-based hiring, instead of strict requirements for years of experience or educational degrees.
  • The Hill and CNN: Millions of Americans who have been receiving subsidies through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are going to experience higher internet costs soon unless Congress approves more funding. CNN offers another look at ACP beneficiaries in rural America.
  • Yahoo Finance: A bipartisan group of 14 U.S. Senators are seeking to add oversight focused on privacy and civil rights to the Transportation Security Administration’s use of facial recognition technology at airport screening checkpoints. 
  • Reuters: new poll found that 58% of surveyed Americans agree with a statement that the Chinese government uses TikTok to influence American public opinion. The Reuters/Ipsos poll found 50% of respondents supported banning TikTok.
  • Axios: The Federal Communications Commission ruled that major cell phone carriers T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon violated the Communications Act when they sold customers’ location data without their consent and continued the practice without sufficient safeguards after being informed of the violations, punishing the carriers with collective fines nearing $200 million. 
  • Axios: Ransomware attacks on health care organizations continue to rise, and in response members of Congress have called on executives to testify and introduced related legislation.
  • CyberScoop: The director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency testified to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee that CISA’s ability to defend against threats to the nation’s most vital infrastructure depends on additional funding to improve critical infrastructure protection. The Biden administration proposed $3 billion for CISA overall, which is $136 million more than Congress appropriated last fiscal year. 
  • FedScoop: The Office of Personnel Management will issue guidance on federal employees’ use of generative AI tools, as well as a competency model and skills-based hiring guidance for AI positions to help agencies find people with the skills needed for those roles. An October 2023 presidential executive order required OPM to complete these actions and more, including establishing an interagency working group for AI.

Article Summary

  • Reuters: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, traveling in Asia this week, announced that the company will invest $1.7 billion in Indonesia over the next four years, including in building data centers, to create and expand infrastructure for cloud computing and AI. Microsoft will also open a data center in Thailand. Microsoft has pledged to train 2.5 million people in Southeast Asia in the use of AI by 2025.
  • Pew Research Center: New findings from the Pew Research Center highlight Americans’ sentiments on social media’s impact on politics and the country, political censorship and bias in Big Tech, and government regulation of technology companies. 
  • StateScoop: A federal appeals court in New York ruled the state can force internet service providers to provide discounted broadband service to low-income households.
  • Scientists at the Salk Institute in California are using a sophisticated new AI-powered research tool to measure and predict multiple features of plant root growth, speeding up previously tedious work that will help design new kinds of plants to sequester carbon from the atmosphere to fight climate change.

Featured Podcast

Wall Street Journal

  • WSJ Tech News Briefing
    Last week, President Biden signed a law requiring the sale or ban of TikTok. But lawmakers’ concerns go back much further. Some lawmakers and former employees of TikTok say that TikTok executives, particularly CEO Shou Chew, could have done more to prevent this outcome. WSJ tech reporter Georgia Wells tells host Alex Ossola about Chew’s missed opportunities to woo lawmakers. (Inside TikTok’s Missed Opportunities in Washington – May 1, 2024)