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Privacy Tech | Takeaways from new White House annual report on AI Related reading: Accelerating AI with synthetic data

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The Trump administration's Office of Science and Technology Policy has released its inaugural report on artificial intelligence. The assessment comes a year after the White House launched the American AI Initiative under Executive Order 13859, which "focuses the resources of the federal government to support AI innovation," the document states. 

The report summarizes the initiative's progress to date and sets forth a "long-term vision" for AI. Notably, the 36-page document mentions the word "privacy" 18 times. "We remain committed to supporting the development and application of AI in a way that promotes public trust, protects civil liberties, and respects the privacy and dignity of every individual," U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios and Deputy U.S. CTO Lynne Parker state in their introduction. 

To help promote "responsible approach to AI," the administration calls for investment in AI research and development. It also states the U.S. must "enhance access to high-quality federal data, models, and computing resources to increase their value for AI R&D, while maintaining and extending safety, security, privacy, and confidentiality protections." 

The administration notes that several "challenges must also be addressed in order to make data and models more available" to the research community in a responsible way. Federal agencies have been charged with identifying barriers to making data more available, including "governance issues that include provenance, access constraints, privacy, safety, security, and intellectual property must be carefully considered and managed." For example, the National Science Foundation and Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration "are collaborating on research on privacy techniques that would enable the Strategic Highway Research Project dataset to be accessible remotely." 

The White House also said it aims to reduce barriers to the "safe development, testing, deployment, and adoption of AI technologies by providing guidance for the governance of AI consistent with ... (U.S.) values and by driving the development of appropriate AI technical standards." This includes the U.S. AI Regulatory Principles, which were published for public comment, and the publication by the National Institute for Standards and Technology's strategy for federal engagement in the development of AI technical standards and related tools.

In the report, the White House calls for guidance that addresses challenges specific to AI, "not simply reformulations of existing broader efforts to consider challenges of data, privacy, cybersecurity, competition, digital economy, or related topics." 

The report also highlights the need to train an AI-ready workforce "through apprenticeships; skills programs; and education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), with an emphasis on computer science, to ensure that American workers, including federal workers, are capable of taking full advantage of the opportunities of AI." 

On an international level, the report says the U.S. worked with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to help support "international consensus agreements on fundamental principles for the stewardship of trustworthy AI." The U.S. government also said it worked with other international partners during the G7 and G20 meetings. 

Finally, the report says the U.S. "must embrace technology such as artificial intelligence to improve the provision and efficiency of government services to the American people and ensure its application shows due respect for our Nation’s values, including privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties." The General Services Administration, for example, created the AI Center of Excellence to help federal agencies determine best practices for implementing AI. 

Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash

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