Better Chips, Faster — Google Says Its AI-Powered Chip Designer Beats Humans: The next generation of Google’s specialty AI chips — Tensor Processing Units — was designed by a new AI system that can map out superior chips in a fraction of the time it takes humans. “Floorplanning” — the process of laying out the components of a microchip — can take experts months of work. Google’s new system, as described in an article in the journal Nature, can create a floorplan that matches or exceeds human designs in key metrics such as performance and power consumption in under six hours. The system’s designers analogized floorplanning to a complex board game and used reinforcement learning — the same method the Google subsidiary DeepMind used to master games such as Go and StarCraft — to train it. The system’s designers say it could lead to a symbiotic relationship in which AI-designed chips run the systems that create more powerful AI chips, accelerating both AI and chip development.
- More: Chip Design with Deep Reinforcement Learning | CSET: AI Chips: What They Are and Why They Matter
- More: “AI weapons” in China’s military innovation | AI Could Enable ‘Swarm Warfare’ for Tomorrow’s Fighter Jets
- The EU’s two top privacy watchdogs called for a ban on the public use of facial recognition technology. The joint statement from the European Data Protection Board and the European Data Protection Supervisor comes soon after the European Commission proposed strict new regulations on AI. While those regulations would place limits on biometric surveillance, they would not ban it entirely (see our coverage from April here). Neither the EDPB or the EDPS can enact regulations on their own, but observers say the joint statement will put pressure on European lawmakers as they consider the Commission’s proposal.
- The EU Court of Justice, the bloc’s supreme court, ruled last week that national privacy regulators could take companies to court even if their headquarters are in a different EU member state. Under the General Data Protection Regulation — the strict privacy code that went into effect in 2018 — complaints were supposed to be handled by the data watchdog in the member state where the company was based. That meant that Ireland — where Google, Twitter, Apple and Facebook have their EU headquarters — was in charge of handling regulation on behalf of the entire EU. That arrangement spawned complaints from other member states’ privacy watchdogs, which said their Irish counterparts were taking too long to go after the big tech companies. While the court’s ruling is likely to free up some new cases, observers say it was narrow enough that it is unlikely to lead to a flood of complaints.
- More: Artificial Intelligence Diplomacy: Artificial Intelligence governance as a new European Union external policy tool | To regulate AI, try playing in a sandbox
United States and European Union Form Transatlantic Tech Council: Last week, the United States and the European Union announced the creation of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC), a joint effort to reduce trade barriers, align regulatory standards and counter China. According to the statement released after the joint U.S.-EU summit in Brussels, the TTC will include 10 working groups focusing on issues such as standards cooperation (including on AI and other emerging technologies), data governance, investment screening, and strengthening critical supply chains. The TTC was initially proposed by the European Commission late last year as part of a broader push for transatlantic cooperation in the wake of President Biden’s election (see our coverage of the proposal here). The TTC will reportedly be co-chaired by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
White House Launches AI Task Force: The National Science Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology Policy have announced the launch of the AI Research Resource Task Force. Comprising a dozen technical experts from government, private companies and academia, the task force will create a roadmap for the National AI Research Resource: “a shared research infrastructure” meant to provide computing power, open government and non-government datasets, and educational tools to students and AI researchers, according to the White House’s announcement. Both the task force and the NAIRR were mandated as part of the National AI Initiative Act, which was passed as part of the FY2021 NDAA. That act also established the National AI Initiative Office, whose director, Lynne Parker, will co-chair the task force. The NAIRR task force will deliver an interim report to Congress in May 2022 and a final report in November 2022.
Pentagon Announces Data Readiness Initiative: On Tuesday, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks announced a new DOD program — the AI and Data Acceleration initiative — that aims to prepare combatant commands for greater AI integration. As part of the initiative, “operational data teams” will be sent to each of the 11 combatant commands to prepare their data to be “AI-ready.” “Flyaway teams of technical experts” will also help the combatant commands integrate AI to improve and automate workflows. Last month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reportedly approved the DOD’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy — an effort to interconnect its weapons systems and sensors and incorporate emerging technologies like AI. While the strategy remains classified, the initiative announced by Hicks this week appears to be a major step toward its realization.
House Moves Ahead With Its National Science Foundation Bill: Last week, the House Science Committee approved the NSF for the Future Act by voice vote, advancing its alternative to the Endless Frontier Act, which the Senate had passed the week prior as part of its U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA). As we noted in the last edition of policy.ai, the Senate bill would pour more than $200 billion into U.S. R&D and high tech manufacturing — including $81 billion to the NSF, $29 billion of which would go to a new directorate focused on emerging technology. The House’s proposal includes $72 billion for the NSF overall and a significantly smaller directorate. Next steps for the bill are unclear. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Gregory Meeks introduced the EAGLE Act “in response to the policy challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China.” The House could package these and other measures together, similar to the Senate’s USICA, but formal plans have not been announced. For more on the NSF for the Future Act and other legislative news, see our latest Legislative Roundup.
CSET Job Openings
Please share with qualified candidates in your network or consider applying:
- Research Fellow – AI TEV&V will focus on the safety and risk of deployed AI systems by researching real-world AI incidents and use these identified incidents with other analyses of AI systems to inform policy recommendations regarding AI safety, test, evaluation, verification and validation (TEV&V) processes, standards setting and management, and the appropriate employment and operation of AI systems by businesses and the US Government (including the military). Applications due by July 19
CSET’s translations of significant foreign language documents on AI
CSET’s translations of significant foreign language documents on AI
PRC Semiconductor Plan: Application Guidelines for the “Chips, Software, and Compute” (Chip Category) Major Special Project of the 2020 Annual Guangdong Provincial Program for Research and Development in Key Fields 2020. This document is an example of a PRC provincial government plan to boost the semiconductor manufacturing industry. The highly granular and technical plan aims to elevate the quality of Guangdong Province’s general purpose and specialized microchips to the leading level in China, and in some cases, to the global cutting edge.
If you have a foreign-language document related to security and emerging technologies that you’d like translated into English, CSET may be able to help! Click here for details.
What’s New at CSET
- Machine Learning and Cybersecurity: Hype and Reality by Micah Musser and Ashton Garriott
- U.S. Demand for AI Certifications: Promise or Hype? by Diana Gehlhaus and Ines Pancorbo
- Poison in the Well: Securing the Shared Resources of Machine Learning by Andrew Lohn
- CSET: Data Snapshot: Creating a Map of Science and Measuring the Role of AI in it by Autumn Toney
- CSET: Legislative Roundup: NSF for the Future Act Clears Key Committee While New AI Research, Semiconductor and Immigration Measures Are Introduced by Daniel Hague
- Lawfare: The Strategic and Legal Implications of Biden’s New China Sanctions by Jordan Brunner and CSET’s Emily Weinstein
- Lawfare: Rethinking Research Security by Ainikki Riikonen and CSET’s Emily Weinstein
- The Diplomat: India’s Tech Talent Flows: A Win-Win for India-US AI Partnership by Husanjot Chahal
- Brookings: Global China: Assessing China’s Growing Role in the World with contributions from Dahlia Peterson and Saif M. Khan
CSET maintains a crowd forecasting platform. Sign up as a forecaster, and take a look at some of the predictions so far:
- (Closing Soon) How much will the U.S. Department of Defense spend on AI research contracts between July 1 and December 31, 2021, inclusive?
- (Closing Soon) How many AI papers will be posted on arXiv between July 1 and December 31, 2021, inclusive?
- (Closing Soon) How many U.S. job postings requiring machine learning skills will be published between July 1 and December 31, 2021, inclusive?
- Forbes: Research Analyst Will Hunt spoke to Roslyn Layton for a piece about the White House’s report on critical supply chains.
- The Wire China: Hunt also spoke with The Wire China’s Tim De Chant for a report on the semiconductor giant TSMC.
- Reuters: Jane Lanhee Lee talked to Research Analyst Emily Weinstein for an article about a Chinese researcher at Stanford who was charged with visa fraud.
- The Washington Post: Following a mistrial in the case of a professor accused of conducting economic espionage on behalf of China, David Nakamura and Ellen Nakashima reached out to Senior Fellow Anna Puglisi for her analysis.
- The Wall Street Journal: After Democratic lawmakers reintroduced a bill to ban federal use of facial recognition technology, The Wall Street Journal’s Jared Council tapped Senior Fellow Andrew Lohn for his thoughts.
- The Wall Street Journal: For a report on the Chinese government’s approach to its domestic tech companies, Lingling Wei reached out to Research Analyst Ryan Fedasiuk.
- Axios: Last week, Ina Fried of Axios covered the release of Micah Musser and Ashton Garriot’s report, Machine Learning and Cybersecurity: Hype and Reality.
- Defense One: In a story about the Pentagon’s efforts to ensure AI safety, Patrick Tucker quoted from Andrew Lohn’s paper published this week, Poison in the Well.
What We’re Reading
Article: Reward is enough, David Silver, Satinder Singh, Doina Precup and Richard S. Sutton, Artificial Intelligence (May 2021)
Article: What Really Happened When Google Ousted Timnit Gebru, Tom Simonite, Wired (June 2021)
Report: Funding Risky Research, Chiara Franzoni, Paula Stephan and Reinhilde Veugelers, NBER (June 2021)
- June 24: CSET Webinar, Where Does India Stand in the Global AI Race? featuring Husanjot Chahal and moderated by Melissa Flagg
What else is going on? Suggest stories, documents to translate & upcoming events here.