Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Worth Knowing

2019 AI Index Documents the Field’s Progress: Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centered AI released its annual AI Index Report. The almost 300-page report tracks the development of AI over time across a broad range of dimensions. Among the findings: significant growth over the past few years in AI conference attendance, number of publications, investment levels, and enrollment in related education. While China led in some metrics, including total number of publications, the United States led in others, such as citation impact, investments and patents. The report also includes a Global AI Vibrancy Tool that lets users compare countries’ relative strengths in AI.
OECD: Chinese Semiconductor Firms Benefit Most From Government Support: The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development published a report on government support in the semiconductor industry, which found that total government assistance (including grants, tax concessions, below-market debt and below-market equity) to private semiconductor companies from 2014 to 2018 topped $50 billion worldwide. Chinese companies received the most support, amounting to 85 percent of all below-market equity and 98 percent of all below-market debt that the study identified. For SMIC and Tsinghua Unigroup in particular, government support made up more than 30 percent of their annual revenue. 
Facebook Curtails Artificially Generated Media: Facebook announced Monday that it is banning deepfake videos, specifically those produced by artificial intelligence to appear authentic, and created or edited to mislead. Critics of the policy noted that it would not limit so-called “cheapfakes,” videos manipulated without use of artificial intelligence. In late December, Facebook also removed several hundred fake accounts that used artificially generated photos as part of a coordinated disinformation campaign linked to Epoch Media Group. The photos, identified as products of a publicly available model called StyleGAN, marked the first time Facebook has identified systemic inauthentic use of AI-generated photos.
Government Updates

Commerce Department Restricts Export of Certain AI Software: The Bureau of Industry and Security amended the Export Administration Regulations on Monday to include restrictions on the export of geospatial AI software. The interim rule requires a license for export and reexport of this software to all destinations except Canada. Restricted software must use a deep convolutional neural network to automate the analysis of geospatial imagery and have a variety of specific characteristics. The rule is open for comment until March 6th. Additional restrictions on exports of emerging technologies are expected.

FY20 Appropriations Increase Funding for AI: The Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations act passed by Congress and signed by the President in late December included substantial investments in AI-related activities. It funded the Joint AI Center at $183.83 million. While $25 million below the President’s request, this was a significant increase over the FY2019 funding of $93 million. Overall, the measure provided $77.5 million above the President’s request for Department of Defense AI-related activities.

NDAA-Mandated RAND Report Finds DOD Unprepared to Integrate AI: A federally mandated report on the Defense Department’s posture in AI found that the DOD’s approach is “significantly challenged across all dimensions.” The RAND Corporation’s independent assessment concluded that the JAIC lacks the authority and resources to implement the DOD’s vision for AI. In addition, the authors determined the current state of verification, validation, test and evaluation is “nowhere close” to ensuring the safety of AI applications. The report recommends new governance structures and strategic planning initiatives, among other actions.

White House Proposes Guidance for AI Regulation: On Tuesday, the Office of Management and Budget proposed guidance for government agency regulation of AI in the private sector. Under Executive Order 13859 on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence, agencies with regulatory authority must submit AI regulation plans to OMB. The memorandum outlines principles the plans should follow, including promoting trustworthy AI without hampering innovation and growth. It also encourages the support of voluntary consensus standards developed by industry for self-regulation. Agency plans are due in 180 days. Chief Technology Officer of the United States Michael Kratsios wrote an op-ed in Bloomberg introducing the principles.

What We’re Reading

Report: The American AI Century: A Blueprint for Action, CNAS (December 2019)

Report: 2019 AI Now Report, AI Now (December 2019)

Report: Report on Artificial Intelligence: Implications for NATO’s Armed Forces, NATO Parliamentary Assembly Science and Technology Subcommittee (October 2019)

Paper: A Stable Nuclear Future? The Impact of Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence, Michael C. Horowitz, Paul Scharre and Alexander Velez-Green (December 2019)

In Translation
CSET's translations of significant foreign language documents on AI

Qianzhan 2019 China AI Industry Report: 2019 Report on Current Conditions and Trends in the Artificial Intelligence Industry: Translation of Qianzhan Industry Research Institute’s business analysis of China’s AI industry. The document analyzes the current supply chain, market development and investments in China’s AI industry. It also assesses the outlook and trends for the future of the industry.

China’s Strategy for Innovation-Driven Development: Outline of the National Innovation-Driven Development Strategy: Translation of a CPC Central Committee and PRC State Council strategy identifying industries that China feels would most benefit from increased indigenous innovation. The document also identifies foreign talent and technology transfer as crucial for China’s emerging technology sectors.

China’s Ten-Year Strategy for Education Reform: Outline of the National Plan for Medium- and Long-Term Education Reform and Development: Translation of a CPC Central Committee and PRC State Council strategy for education reform issued in July 2010. Although the strategy doesn’t mention emerging technologies explicitly, the document addresses international educational exchange and cultivation of world-class talent, which has implications for emerging technology.

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