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Artificial Intelligence

Advances in AI Less About Flashy Robots and More About ‘Creeping Incrementalism’

Artificial intelligence, disguised as helpful hints on web search results, is already having an active effect on society. 

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WASHINGTON, February 2, 2022 — Experts in artificial intelligence said that the future of AI is less about flashy robots with facial expressions and more about subtle advancements that entice users to give away more time and information.

“We’re no longer in the emerging phase of AI,” says Chloe Autio, advisor and senior manager at the Cantellus Group, a boutique consultancy focused on strategy and governance of emerging technologies like AI, in an exchange with Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark.

Autio and fellow Broadband Breakfast Live Online speaker, Sarah Oh, senior fellow at the Technology Policy Institute, made clear that AI is no longer a far-away concept that won’t be realized for many years, instead it is already a part of our everyday lives.

“For me, it’s less of this fear that we’ll all turn into robots or that robots will turn into us,” says Autio. Instead, Autio says her concern sprouts from the growing dependency society has on AI technologies without knowing it.

These technologies vary from Alexa and Siri to apps like Instagram and Twitter. “Social media platforms have changed to optimize for engagement and participation,” said Autio.

Chloe Autio

In doing this, social media platforms are utilizing AI technologies that help them learn more about users. Autio also gave the example of advanced search engines that give users responses in complete sentences rather than just a list of resources.

“People need to be more wary of these sorts of advancements through creeping incrementalism,” warned Autio.

Oh echoes these concerns in a more generalized way: “It’s like electricity, it’s a general technology. It empowers both negative and positive uses,” she says.

While the conversation did highlight some of the exciting potential AI holds, the fears of AI’s potential, if not already active, effect on society were abundantly apparent.

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 12 Noon ET — AI’s Impact on Media, Law, Finance and Government

Artificial Intelligence is continuing to transform wide realms of our society and economy, and machine-based intelligence is just getting started. In this forward-focused session of Broadband Breakfast Live Online, we’ll speak with thinkers, innovators, and policy-makers about how journalism, law, finance and government services have been or will be transformed by AI. Join us for a world of discovery, as well as caution, about policies that need to be in place to harness the power of AI.

Panelists for this Broadband Breakfast Live Online session:

  • Chloe Autio, Advisor, The Cantellus Group
  • Dr. Sarah Oh, Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Institute
  • Other guests have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Chloe Autio is an Advisor and Senior Manager at The Cantellus Group, a boutique consultancy focused on strategy and governance of emerging technologies like AI. Chloe specializes in AI policy and applied practice, most recently as a Director of Public Policy at Intel Corp. Chloe is a founding board member of the DC chapter of Women in Security and Privacy (WISP) and holds an economics degree from UC Berkeley where she also studied technology policy.

Sarah Oh is a Senior Fellow at the Technology Policy Institute. She has presented research to the Western Economic Association and Telecommunications Policy Research Conference, witness testimony to the Senate Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, and has co-authored work published in the Northwestern Journal of Technology & Intellectual Property, Berkeley Technology Law Journal, and other peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Oh completed her Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University, and holds a J.D. from Scalia Law School and a B.S. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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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