Sunday, December 3, 2023

Trump could torpedo bill to increase AI funding

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On a tumultuous four years, the Trump administration has repeatedly emphasized the importance of artificial intelligence to American competitiveness. President Trump must now decide whether to veto what would be the biggest funding and strengthening of the government’s AI strategy.

the National Defense Authorization Act would provide $ 6.4 billion in federal money over five years for research into AI and its applications, and that would push Washington to develop a national technology strategy.

The bill, approved by both houses of Congress, would increase federal spending on AI with $ 4.8 billion for the National Science Foundation, $ 1.2 billion through the Department of Energy and $ 400 million dollars for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Martijn Rasser, a senior researcher in the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for New American Security, a strategic think tank in Washington, DC, says funding is important.

The bill would also help coordinate the government’s AI strategy, Rasser said, by creating a dedicated AI office within the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. Rasser says it could help guide the investment and use of AI, ensure its ethical deployment, and align it with priorities regarding the future of the U.S. workforce.

The Defense Bill would also create a task force to review the resources needed by AI researchers. This should lay the groundwork for a nationwide cloud computing platform for AI research. “This will really help researchers in small companies and universities that don’t have the massive resources that big tech companies have,” says Rasser.

The bill could also help the DOD harness AI more efficiently, by giving new procurement powers to the Joint Center for Artificial Intelligence, which is part of the Ministry of Defense, and having its head reports directly to the Secretary of Defense.

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Rasser and other experts say the US government must rethink its overall strategy and increase investment in AI research, in order to maintain its leadership and effectively counter China’s growing technological capabilities. It’s difficult to keep track of current total government spending on AI research, but a report co-authored by Rasser in December 2019 estimated non-defense spending at around $ 1 billion in FY2020. report recommended to the government increase AI spending to $ 25 billion per year.

Some AI researchers are keen to see the bill passed. “We can’t afford to fall behind when it comes to AI,” says Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for AI, which approved the AI ​​part of the legislation. “Our national security, our economic vitality, our medical innovations and our scientific advancements will depend critically on it in the years to come.”

The Defense Bill also includes provisions it would force the government to come up with a plan to spend an additional $ 10 billion a year on advanced technologies like AI, quantum computing, and 5G wireless services by 2025.

The $ 740 billion defense spending bill was passed by the Senate and House last week. The president has repeatedly stated that he will veto the bill, giving various reasons, including a provision to change the name of military installations named after Confederate officers and the lack of language to change Chapter 230 the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech companies like Facebook and Twitter from liability for the content they host.

Trump has 10 days to decide whether to veto the bill. Sunday, the president tweeted that the defense bill would benefit China without explaining why. All eight of his previous vetoes have been confirmed.

Tony samp, a DLA Piper attorney and former Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus contributor, says bipartisan support for the bill reflects “a recognition that AI is a game-changing technology.” It also highlights parts of the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative law that offer guidance on future AI research, stressing the need to consider algorithmic biases and the importance of AI systems. “trustworthy”.


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