White House Proposed Budget Increases AI Spending, Cuts Overall R&D:The President’s 2021 budget proposes significant increases to AI spending and commits to doubling non-defense AI R&D by 2022. Relative to last year’s request, the budget proposes:
Increasing the JAIC budget by $48M
Increasing NSF AI R&D by $376M
At the same time, it also requests broad cuts to research, which some researchers say could harm AI. Relative to current enacted funding levels for 2020, the budget would:
Decrease NSF funding overall by $540M
Decrease aggregate federal funding for basic research by $2.8B and for applied research by $5.1B
Decrease NIST funding by $296M
The President’s budget request has included similar research cuts in previous years, but Congress has rejected them.
Senators Introduce Facial Recognition Bill: Senators Merkley and Booker introduced legislation that, if enacted, would place a moratorium on the federal use of facial recognition pending further congressional action. The Ethical Use of Facial Recognition Act establishes a 13-member commission tasked with recommending guidelines and limitations for the technology, and lays out a process for considering legislation. Until then, federal use of facial recognition would be suspended, though police could still use it with a warrant. There is currently no companion bill in the House.
Judge Blocks JEDI Contract: The U.S. Court of Federal Claims blocked the Pentagon from moving forward with its $10 billion cloud computing contract. Last Thursday, Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith granted Amazon’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the DOD’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project contract. JEDI is a 10-year contract to modernize the tech infrastructure of the DOD, including implementing AI for defense operations. Microsoft was awarded the contract in October, but Amazon argued that Trump’s “personal animus” toward the company biased the selection process. The work, scheduled to begin last Friday, is now suspended until further notice.
In Translation CSET's translations of significant foreign language documents on AI
Foreign Expert Talent Notice:Notice on Applying for 2020 National Foreign Expert Projects. Description of three Chinese government programs designed to recruit foreign talent in 2020, particularly in tech fields. The notice explains the purpose of each talent program and the benefits conferred upon foreign experts who are accepted.