Tech Industry and Government Collaborate on NAIRR

Earlier this week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) launched a pilot version of the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR), which will provide researchers and academics with access to a range of AI technology. The pilot includes the participation of 11 federal agencies and 25 private-sector partners, including Microsoft, OpenAI, NVIDIA, AWS, and many others.
According to the NSF, the pilot represents “a first step towards realizing the vision for a shared research infrastructure that will strengthen and democratize access to critical resources necessary to power responsible AI discovery and innovation.” Coverage of this development includes articles on FedScoopVox, and Yahoo! Finance. Microsoft CSO Eric Horvitz discusses Microsoft’s participation in the NAIRR in a Microsoft on the Issues blog.
Stay tuned for more AI and other tech policy news in the weeks ahead. Thank you for reading.

This Week in Washington 

  • Fierce Telecom: With the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) set to run out of funding in April, the companies that have received the majority of ACP funding must prepare for a wave of sudden disconnects and put plans in place to continue assisting vulnerable customers. 
  • StateScoop: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed changes to their E-Rate program, allowing applicants like schools and libraries to request funding for internet connectivity devices like Wi-Fi hotspots to help support access beyond their buildings for remote learning and access to virtual library services.
  • CyberScoop: A set of rules proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) would give customers control over their personal data and increase customer choice and competition by limiting the activities of data brokers and separating which companies see what part of the data and in what context
  • Nextgov/FCW: Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the Source Code Harmonization and Rescue in Information Technology (SHARE IT) Act, which would mandate federal agencies make custom computer code known and available to other agencies for their use, with a cost-savings goal of reducing duplication of software procurement efforts across government. In a similar effort to streamline the federal contracting process and reduce burdensome requirements, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined Senator Peters in introducing the Conforming Procedures for Federal Task and Delivery Order Contracts Act, which looks to create a “more nimble and meaningful bidding process and evaluation of proposals.”

Article Summary

  • Business Today: In a recent interview, Microsoft’s Vice Chair and President Brad Smith dove into the evolving landscape of AI, its impact on the world, and the challenges posed by mis- and disinformation, focusing on what is created by generative AI. Smith also discussed how transparency through labeling, coordinated industry responses to deep fakes, and public education for informed citizenship can address growing global concerns about the technology.
  • StateScoop: Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin became the latest to sign a statewide AI executive order that urges a roadmap to ensure that the emerging technology “will be safely implemented across state agencies and departments.” The executive order also includes guidelines requiring K-12 and postsecondary schools to embrace the technology while protecting students’ data.
  • Axios: While AI won’t fundamentally remake the U.S. healthcare system, many experts believe that the technology will allow the industry to cut down on costs and improve the quality of care by allowing AI to do what computers do well and healthcare workers to focus on patient care.
  • CBS News: Researchers at the University of Minnesota are utilizing AI and satellites to help farmers detect aphid infestations. Farmers can use satellite images to identify the severity of the aphid infestations and have AI tell them when to disperse insecticide, saving them hours of walking the fields.
  • The Washington Post and Reuters: Due to its role in deteriorating and negatively impacting the mental health of young users, New York City has designated social media to be a public health hazard, becoming the first major U.S. city to take this stance. The Florida House of Representatives is also taking a stance against social media companies by voting to restrict children 16 and younger from using social media sites, an action other states have taken in an attempt to protect children online.
  • Fierce Telecom: North Carolina was awarded $82.2 million by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for their Broadband Stop Gap Solutions Program. This funding will help connect 16,000 additional households and businesses in the state to high-speed internet.
  • StateScoop: Governor Mark Gordon has asked the Wyoming Joint Appropriation Committee for $6.8 million from their FY25 budget to hire 37 new cybersecurity employees, with $2.3 million of the budget for hiring 14 new cybersecurity positions in the Department of Enterprise Technology Services and the remaining $4.5 million to fill non-cybersecurity roles across agencies to better support cybersecurity efforts across the state.

Featured Podcast

Daily Tech News Show

  • Daily Tech News Show
    Hosts Tom Merritt and Dr. Niki Ackermans have a deep-dive discussion about a  new MIT study that suggests that the number of jobs AI replaces will be far fewer than originally projected. The episode also includes discussion of recent space news, including the experiments of the Axiom-3 mission aboard the International Space Station. (It’s Called a Moon Shot for a Reason – January 22, 2023)