The State Department Looks To Establish Norms on Military AI: Last week, the State Department unveiled a declaration on military AI and autonomy, a set of non-binding guidelines meant to build international consensus on the responsible development and use of military AI and autonomous systems. The declaration — which was announced at the Summit on Responsible AI in the Military Domain — includes 12 guidelines intended to represent the “best practices” for responsible military AI use, among them: ensuring that high-consequence AI development and deployment are overseen by senior officials, making AI development auditable, limiting AI tools to explicit and well-defined uses for which they were designed, and ensuring that relevant personnel have trained to understand both the capabilities and limitations of the systems they use or oversee. The declaration hits many of the same beats as recent U.S. government documents on responsible AI adoption, such as the DOD’s guidance on autonomy in weapons systems (updated in January), its 2020 Ethical Principles for Artificial Intelligence and its 2021 Responsible Artificial Intelligence Strategy and Implementation Pathway. U.S. officials said they hoped the declaration would help to establish common international norms around responsible AI development and, if and when signatories come aboard, create an opportunity for greater international collaboration on the issue of military AI and autonomy.
The FTC Establishes a New Technology Office: On Friday, the Federal Trade Commission launched an Office of Technology to support its work on tech. It will be led by Chief Technology Officer Stephanie Nguyen and will significantly expand the agency’s roster of technologists (from a current staff of 10). In her announcement post, Nguyen wrote that the “shift in the pace and volume of technological changes,” including the increasing use of AI, was a key motivating factor behind the agency’s desire to bolster its in-house technological expertise. According to Nguyen, the office’s priority will be to support the agency’s enforcement investigations and cases. Cases involving AI seem a likely place for the new office to weigh in — Nguyen specifically cited “dissecting claims made about an AI-powered product to assess whether the offering is oozing with snake oil” as an example of the type of work the office would help to inform. The office will also advise on non-enforcement work, such as reports and congressional briefings, and engage with external stakeholders through workshops, consultations and conferences.
NASA Uses AI to Design Bespoke Parts: NASA’s use of AI to design mission hardware offers a compelling example of how the technology can be used to complement human experts. According to the agency, research engineers at the Maryland-based Goddard Space Flight Center have been using commercially available AI software to design one-off parts for use in a number of NASA missions, including the Exoplanet Climate Infrared Telescope mission and the Mars Sample Return mission. The results have been impressive — according to NASA engineers, the AI-designed parts have offered significant weight savings while improving on measures of stress and failure risk when compared to human designs, all while cutting down on the time needed to create the designs. The AI designs aren’t flawless — they can sometimes be too thin — but because they are subjected to validation tests, issues can still be identified. NASA is no stranger to AI — the agency leaned on AI-powered systems to help its Perseverance Rover land on Mars in 2021 — but its on-Earth use of the technology might provide a clearer example for how organizations can successfully implement emerging technologies.
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In Translation CSET’s translations of significant foreign language documents on AI
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