White House Set to Tackle Artificial Intelligence as Technology Becomes Ever More Prevalent


Predicting the future is a funny business, that’s for sure, and very few pop culture prophecies actually come to fruition.

We needn’t look any further than Back to The Future II for several examples of this disappointing dissonance between the future and futurism, in which the writers of the classic film attempted to predict the far-off future year of 2015.

First, they said cars would fly with astonishing regularity, but we’re only now getting to cars that will drive themselves…on the road.

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Then there were the Hoverboards – floating skateboards that had every kid born between 1970 and 1982 drooling.  While there has been some progress on replicating this experience, theses first drafts are terribly clunky and fraught with awkwardness.

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But there is one pop culture reference to our impending future that seems to be shaping itself into the movie gag that it always way:  Artificial intelligence – specifically in regard to how modern algorithms can help AI continue to learn and evolve on its own.

Given just how reliant human beings are on technology these days, this has terrifying implications for the future.

And that’s why the White House is taking action.

The Trump administration is proposing new rules to guide future federal regulation of artificial intelligence used in medicine, transportation and other industries.

But the vagueness of the principles announced by the White House is unlikely to satisfy AI watchdogs who have warned of a lack of accountability as computer systems are deployed to take on human roles in high-risk social settings, such as mortgage lending or job recruitment.

A document from the White House said that in deciding regulatory action, U.S. agencies “must consider fairness, non-discrimination, openness, transparency, safety, and security.” The rules won’t affect how federal agencies such as law enforcement use AI; they are specifically limited to how federal agencies devise new AI regulations for the private sector. There’s a month-long public comment period before the rules take effect.

“These principles are intentionally high-level,” said Lynne Parker, U.S. deputy chief technology officer at the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. “We purposely wanted to avoid top-down, one-size-fits-all, blanket regulations.”

Of course, a rogue or weaponized AI is not simply a national problem, but a global concern as well, and there’s no telling if proposal would hinder the ability of the US to compete with someone like Russia, whose scruples take a backseat to their Rubles.

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