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Artificial Intelligence

AI Likely to Bring Changes to Warfare, Including Potential De-escalation of Military Conflict, Say Panelists

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WASHINGTON, May 30, 2019 – The development of artificial intelligence will bring extreme changes to the future of warfare, a panel of scientists said Thursday, calling the impact of current advances analogous to the development of agriculture or the domestication of the horse.

The panel was hosted by the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank founded by military and industrial strategist Herman Kahn. Speakers on the panel discussed the ways in which the Department of Defense can implement new technologies, as well as the problems that could arise as a result.

One common concern with AI in military decisions was the potentially faster escalation in the use of force. For example, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, AI might have recommended acting sooner, possibly leading to catastrophic results.

But Navy AI Lead Colonel Jeff Kojac argued that the opposite could also be true: A young platoon commander in a high-pressure situation could utilize the help of an unmanned aerial system in determining to not open fire on a non-combative group.

Additionally, Lindsey R. Sheppard, associate fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, refuted this fear by explaining that a significant amount of cognitive psychology research demonstrates that more information does not necessarily lead to a faster decision.

Hudson Senior Fellow William Schneider Jr. also thought that the potential benefits outweighed the risks, pointing out that AI gives the military the opportunity to head off a crisis before it occurs.

In regard to 5G networks, Schneider claimed that they present a “substantial” risk because of what can be integrated into the technology. He cited a recent Human Rights Watch report describing a mass surveillance app that collects an “intrusive, massive collection of personal information.” Having a large inventory of data-based services presents a wide range of potential breaches.

The panelists also discussed how to mitigate the consequences of AI’s current limitations and vulnerabilities. Sheppard emphasized the importance of placing computing data as far out on the network’s edge as possible.

For example, Apple’s facial recognition technology used to send the captured image to a central server, compare it to a stored image, and send it back; this entire process is now done on the device itself, freeing important server space. This model could be applied to the structure of cloud architecture in military settings as well.

Dr. Alexander Kott, chief scientist for the Army Research Laboratory, described the need for a complex mix of decentralized clouds at the edge, making them more resilient to attack. Col. Kojac pointed out that an additional component of resilience is agility, recommending an incremental approach to developing these technologies over the more traditional “waterfall” approach.

Not only will the technology require agility, the people operating it will need to be flexible in order to make the rise of AI feasible. That barrier was highlighted by several audience members, too. Kojac called an AI literate force a “categorical imperative,” and Sheppard supported this idea by suggesting that all forces involved in the deployment of these technologies should be required to know how to program.

This should be made easier because the workforce currently entering the military is fundamentally different from what it was a decade ago. Troops now serve for longer periods of time and have higher education requirements. Additionally, many have a more technologically rich background, such that Schneider called them “digital natives.” He said that AI ultimately provides a “basis for optimism” for having the potential to save lives on the front lines.

On a civilian level, Sheppard also highlighted the need for a top to bottom recognition of the importance of analytics within company cultures.

(Photo of panelists at the Hudson Institute event by Drew Clark.)

 

Reporter Em McPhie studied communication design and writing at Washington University in St. Louis, where she was a managing editor for the student newspaper. In addition to agency and freelance marketing experience, she has reported extensively on Section 230, big tech, and rural broadband access. She is a founding board member of Code Open Sesame, an organization that teaches computer programming skills to underprivileged children.

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Artificial Intelligence

AI Should Compliment and Not Replace Humans, Says Stanford Expert

AI that strictly imitates human behavior can make workers superfluous and concentrate power in the hands of employers.

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Photo of Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, in January 2017 by Sandra Blaser used with permission

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2022 – Artificial intelligence should be developed primarily to augment the performance of, not replace, humans, said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, at a Wednesday web event hosted by the Brookings Institution.

AI that complements human efforts can increase wages by driving up worker productivity, Brynjolfsson argued. AI that strictly imitates human behavior, he said, can make workers superfluous – thereby lowering the demand for workers and concentrating economic and political power in the hands of employers – in this case the owners of the AI.

“Complementarity (AI) implies that people remain indispensable for value creation and retain bargaining power in labor markets and in political decision-making,” he wrote in an essay earlier this year.

What’s more, designing AI to mimic existing human behaviors limits innovation, Brynjolfsson argued Wednesday.

“If you are simply taking what’s already being done and using a machine to replace what the human’s doing, that puts an upper bound on how good you can get,” he said. “The bigger value comes from creating an entirely new thing that never existed before.”

Brynjolfsson argued that AI should be crafted to reflect desired societal outcomes. “The tools we have now are more powerful than any we had before, which almost by definition means we have more power to change the world, to shape the world in different ways,” he said.

The AI Bill of Rights

In October, the White House released a blueprint for an “AI Bill of Rights.” The document condemned algorithmic discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or age and emphasized the importance of user privacy. It also endorsed system transparency with users and suggested the use of human alternatives to AI when feasible.

To fully align with the blueprint’s standards, Russell Wald, policy director for Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, argued at a recent Brookings event that the nation must develop a larger AI workforce.

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Artificial Intelligence

Workforce Training Needed to Address Artificial Intelligence Bias, Researchers Suggest

Building on the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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Russell Wald. Credit: Rod Searcey, Stanford Law School

WASHINGTON, October 24, 2022–To align with the newly released White House guide on artificial intelligence, Stanford University’s director of policy said at an October Brookings Institution event last week that there needs to be more social and technical workforce training to address artificial intelligence biases.

Released on October 4, the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights framework by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy is a guide for companies to follow five principles to ensure the protection of consumer rights from automated harm.

AI algorithms rely on learning the users behavior and disclosed information to customize services and advertising. Due to the nature of this process, algorithms carry the potential to send targeted information or enforce discriminatory eligibility practices based on race or class status, according to critics.

Risk mitigation, which prevents algorithm-based discrimination in AI technology is listed as an ‘expectation of an automated system’ under the “safe and effective systems” section of the White House framework.

Experts at the Brookings virtual event believe that workforce development is the starting point for professionals to learn how to identify risk and obtain the capacity to fulfill this need.

“We don’t have the talent available to do this type of investigative work,” Russell Wald, policy director for Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, said at the event.

“We just don’t have a trained workforce ready and so what we really need to do is. I think we should invest in the next generation now and start giving people tools and access and the ability to learn how to do this type of work.”

Nicol Turner-Lee, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, agreed with Wald, recommending sociologists, philosophers and technologists get involved in the process of AI programming to align with algorithmic discrimination protections – another core principle of the framework.

Core principles and protections suggested in this framework would require lawmakers to create new policies or include them in current safety requirements or civil rights laws. Each principle includes three sections on principles, automated systems and practice by government entities.

In July, Adam Thierer, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University stated that he is “a little skeptical that we should create a regulatory AI structure,” and instead proposed educating workers on how to set best practices for risk management, calling it an “educational institution approach.”

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Artificial Intelligence

Deepfakes Pose National Security Threat, Private Sector Tackles Issue

Content manipulation can include misinformation from authoritarian governments.

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Photo of Dana Roa of Adobe, Paul Lekas of Global Policy (left to right)

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2022 – Content manipulation techniques known as deepfakes are concerning policy makers and forcing the public and private sectors to work together to tackle the problem, a Center for Democracy and Technology event heard on Wednesday.

A deepfake is a technical method of generating synthetic media in which a person’s likeness is inserted into a photograph or video in such a way that creates the illusion that they were actually there. Policymakers are concerned that deepfakes could pose a threat to the country’s national security as the technology is being increasingly offered to the general population.

Deepfake concerns that policymakers have identified, said participants at Wednesday’s event, include misinformation from authoritarian governments, faked compromising and abusive images, and illegal profiting from faked celebrity content.

“We should not and cannot have our guard down in the cyberspace,” said Representative John Katko, R-NY, ranking member of House Committee on homeland security.

Adobe pitches technology to identify deepfakes

Software company Adobe released an open-source toolkit to counter deepfake concerns earlier this month, said Dana Rao, executive vice president of Adobe. The companies’ Content Credentials feature is a technology developed over three years that tracks changes made to images, videos, and audio recordings.

Content Credentials is now an opt-in feature in the company’s photo editing software Photoshop that it says will help establish credibility for creators by adding “robust, tamper-evident provenance data about how a piece of content was produced, edited, and published,” read the announcement.

Adobe’s Connect Authenticity Initiative project is dedicated to addressing problems establishing trust after the damage caused by deepfakes. “Once we stop believing in true things, I don’t know how we are going to be able to function in society,” said Rao. “We have to believe in something.”

As part of its initiative, Adobe is working with the public sector in supporting the Deepfake Task Force Act, which was introduced in August of 2021. If adopted, the bill would establish a National Deepfake and Digital task force comprised of members from the private sector, public sector, and academia to address disinformation.

For now, said Cailin Crockett, senior advisor to the White House Gender Policy Council, it is important to educate the public on the threat of disinformation.

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