Google Establishes Advisory Panel to Examine AI Fairness

Google is forming the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC), an external eight-member advisory group to “consider some of the most complex challenges [in AI],” such as facial recognition and fairness. The move comes about a year after Google issued a charter stating its AI principles, and months after Google said it would not provide “general-purpose facial recognition APIs” before the ATEAC addresses relevant policy issues. The advisory group will hold four meetings in 2019, starting in April. Continue reading Google Establishes Advisory Panel to Examine AI Fairness

Google’s AI White Paper Calls for Self-Regulation, Not Laws

After Google co-founder Sergey Brin wrote shareholders about the potential downsides of AI in April, chief executive Sundar Pichai released “guiding principles” for the company’s AI projects in June. This came after employee protests succeeded in getting Google to drop a Pentagon contract to interpret drone footage. Now, Google has released a 30-page white paper that stresses the benefits of artificial intelligence, arguing that its downsides can be avoided without more regulation “in the vast majority of instances.” Continue reading Google’s AI White Paper Calls for Self-Regulation, Not Laws

Government Wants Hearing with Tech Firms Over China Ties

Senate Intelligence Committee vice chair Mark Warner wrote to Alphabet and Twitter to raise questions about their relationships with Chinese vendors. Now, he and other top Committee members want to call in Facebook, Google and Twitter chief executives to a public hearing about their platforms’ security, especially with regard to their relationships with Chinese telecommunication companies. Warner also asked Google for information about its partnership with Tencent for patent sharing and future technology development. Continue reading Government Wants Hearing with Tech Firms Over China Ties

Google Plans Not to Renew its Defense Department Contract

Influenced by employee discontent, Google will not renew a contract with the Pentagon’s Project Maven when it expires next year. Google Cloud business head Diane Greene, who won the contract, was the one who announced the company’s decision in a weekly employee meeting. The Maven project uses artificial intelligence to interpret video images and, among its potential uses, could be employed to improve drone attack targeting. Many Google AI researchers worried aloud that it was a step towards using AI for advanced weaponry. Continue reading Google Plans Not to Renew its Defense Department Contract

Google, Government Partner on AI to Analyze Drone Footage

Google and the Department of Defense are exploring the use of artificial intelligence to identify objects in drone footage. The tech giant has been working with the Pentagon’s Project Maven, an initiative focused on big data and machine learning. According to sources, when the pilot project became an object of discussion at Google, some employees were angry that the company was working with the military on surveillance tech for drone operations. Google’s Eric Schmidt admitted that the tech community is concerned that the military-industrial complex will use Google’s research to kill innocent people. Continue reading Google, Government Partner on AI to Analyze Drone Footage

U.S. and China Continue to Compete in Supercomputing Race

In an experiment described in Science, Chinese researchers used photons (also known as light particles) from the country’s quantum-communications satellite and established an instantaneous connection between two ground stations more than 744 miles apart. By doing so, say the experts, China is now a pioneer in harnessing matter and energy at a subatomic level — and a leader in the field of using quantum technology to build a global communications network that can’t be hacked. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy is paying for companies to develop new supercomputers in pursuit of at least one “exascale” system. Continue reading U.S. and China Continue to Compete in Supercomputing Race

RSA Conference Reveals More Nuances in FBI-Apple Battle

By now, everyone knows the general outline of the argument between Apple and the FBI, over the latter’s request for a backdoor into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. Apple’s refusal to do so has sparked a war of words and legal actions between Apple and other proponents of data protection/digital privacy and the government, as well as others who believe national security trumps digital privacy. More recently, at the RSA Conference, an information security event, more nuances were revealed. Continue reading RSA Conference Reveals More Nuances in FBI-Apple Battle

White House Creates Cybersecurity Agency to Combat Threats

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it will establish a new agency tasked with protecting the U.S. from cyberattacks. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will gather intelligence from both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency to help prevent hackers from stealing information. This announcement comes on the heels of a major security breach last week, when hackers broke into the system of health insurance company Anthem. Continue reading White House Creates Cybersecurity Agency to Combat Threats

House Passes USA Freedom Act to Curb NSA Surveillance

Late last week the House overwhelmingly passed legislation that is intended to bring an end to the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records program. The USA Freedom Act is designed to restrict the federal government’s ability to collect records about citizens in bulk, a program that had sparked debate regarding privacy and civil liberties. The House voted 303-to-121 in support of the USA Freedom Act, which could signal a change in how both political parties view the power of the NSA. Continue reading House Passes USA Freedom Act to Curb NSA Surveillance

Panel Recommends Obama Impose Restrictions on NSA Spying

A report by a panel of outside advisers has urged President Obama to place a number of restrictions on the NSA. Commissioned by President Obama back in August, the report is a response to the outrage inspired by Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing of the agency’s spying methods. The advisers are calling for greater congressional oversight and presidential approval for spying on national leaders. They also want to see the agency give up its cyber-spying on American hardware and software. Continue reading Panel Recommends Obama Impose Restrictions on NSA Spying

DARPA Turns to Algorithms to Improve Machine Learning

Pentagon research agency DARPA is readying a four-year project to design artificial intelligence systems based on machines that can teach themselves using algorithms. An additional goal is to make it possible for ordinary people to build these machines. The agency believes it is possible to design and build computers that learn and evolve, not by modeling them after the human brain, but rather by using algorithms. Continue reading DARPA Turns to Algorithms to Improve Machine Learning