Rise of the Machines – Clarion Call on AI by U.S. House Subcommittee

By John Russell

October 2, 2018

Last week, the top U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on IT weighed in on AI with a new report – Rise of the Machines: Artificial Intelligence and its Growing Impact on U.S. Policy. It’s a 15-page, fast read, focused on policy not technology or specific legislation; that said, where there’s a government report, sometimes funding and programs follow.

The report is the result of hearings and research begun last February in the Subcommittee on Information Technology Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Subcommittee chairman Will Hurd (R-TX) and ranking member Robin Kelly (D-IL) are the listed authors. They emphasize the report’s conclusions relate to “narrow AI – such as playing strategic games, language translation, self-driving vehicles” and not to “general AI, [which] can accomplish more than one task and can move between these tasks based on reasoning.”

Still, Rise of the Machines has an urgent tone:  “Chief among the Subcommittee’s recommendations is for the federal government to increase federal spending on research and development to maintain American leadership with respect to AI. In response to concerns about AI’s potential economic impact, federal, state, and local agencies are encouraged to engage more with stakeholders on the development of effective strategies for improving the education, training, and reskilling of American workers to be more competitive in an AI-driven economy.”

It’s probably wrong to call the report alarmist but it certainly is full of worry. To a considerable degree the concerns expressed are familiar – workforce dislocation, cybersecurity, global rivals, privacy, biases, malicious use of AI. Consider these two bulleted excerpts on potential workforce impact taken from the report:

  • A December 2017 report from the McKinsey Global Institute reported that as a result of AI-driven automation, “up to 1/3 of [the] workforce in the United States and Germany may need to find work in new occupations.”
  • Another study released by Oxford University in 2013 found the impact on U.S. workers by AI technologies may even be higher. According to the Oxford study, “about 47 percent of total U.S. employment is at risk.”These studies indicate the negative impact AI may have on jobs, which has the potential to increase wealth inequality in the United States.

The report also points out that other studies indicate AI has the potential to improve and increase jobs. Part of the challenge is the uncertainty surrounding AI impact on the workforce.

Interestingly, AI progress and global leadership were linked broadly to national R&D spending by the report, which said the R&D spending trend in the U.S. is worrisome:

“Notably, China’s commitment to funding R&D has been growing sharply, up 200 percent from 2000 to 2015.19 On February 7, 2018, the National Science Board’s (Board) and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Director, who jointly head NSF, said in a statement that if current trends continue, the Board expects “China to pass the United States in R&D investments” by the end of 2018.”

“China’s rapidly growing investment in AI. Particularly concerning is the prospect of an authoritarian country, such as Russia or China, overtaking the United States in AI. As the Subcommittee’s hearings showed, AI is likely to have a significant impact in cybersecurity, and American competitiveness in AI will be critical to ensuring the United States does not lose any decisive cybersecurity advantage to other nation-states.”

A big question, of course, is how to effectively mobilize. For example, the report labelled as promising Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Artificial Intelligence Exploration program which “plans to invest more than $2 billion into this program and other existing programs. The program focuses research on ‘third wave’ AI theory and application that will make it possible for machines to contextually adapt to changing situations.”

The subcommittee presented a few ideas. Here are two:

Innovative research. “There should be a Grand Challenge, similar to DARPA’s Grand Challenges, using data to solve a problem. The benefit of DARPA’s Grand Challenges is their ability to foster innovative, collaborative research among teams seeking to overcome seemingly unattainable goals. Take, for example, DARPA’s Self-Driving Car Challenge, which offered $1 million to the first team to autonomously navigate a desert course from California to Nevada. In the first year of the Challenge, no team completed the course. In fact, the farthest any vehicle went was 7.5 miles. Yet eighteen months later, 5 out of the 195 competing teams completed the 132-mile course, with the winner having crossed the finish line in a little under seven hours. DARPA’s Grand Challenges provide strong incentives for innovation, and, as seen with its Self-Driving Cars Challenge, can effectuate quick technological advancement. Such competitions have spurred creativity, research, and collaboration, leading to some of the most groundbreaking inventions in recent history.”

Product oversight. “At minimum, a widely agreed upon standard for measuring the safety and security of AI products and applications should precede any new regulations. A common taxonomy also would help facilitate clarity and enable accurate accounting of skills and uses of AI. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is situated to be a key player in developing standards. Similar private sector efforts exist from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. The AI Index, which is a part of Stanford’s “One Hundred Year Study on AI,” collects data about AI in order to track and measure its progress, which will be critical in the standards development process to provide historical context. The federal government should look to support public, academic, and private sector efforts in the development of standards for measuring the safety and security of AI products and applications.”

The report frankly noted that narrow AI is already here: “AI is now used in connection with mapping applications or “apps” on mobile phones, tax preparation, song writing, and digital advertising. It is also being used in video games and movies to create special effects. More recently, the Food and Drug Administration approved an AI algorithm that aids radiologists in detecting wrist fractures. The State of Ohio uses robotics in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation laboratories to help reduce the turnaround time on untested rape kits. The application of AI facilitated the state testing 14,000 previously untested rape kits and identifying 300 serial rapists linked to 1,100 crimes.”

“The Government Services Administration has a robotic processing automation (RPA) pilot that automates portions of the Multiple Award Schedules new offer review process. Presently, contract officers must go through a tedious administrative process, reading through dozens of pages of documentation across multiple IT systems to ensure a vendor’s new offer is consistent with information already in government databases. RPA software offers the capability to perform these tasks, so the contract officers can spend more time engaging with customers.”

It’s reasonable to wonder what comes next. Rise of the Machines certainly seems to be setting the stage for broader governmental oversight and involvement in AI development and use: “AI has the potential to disrupt every sector of society in both anticipated and unanticipated ways. In light of that potential for disruption, it’s critical that the federal government address the different challenges posed by AI, including its current and future applications.”

Stay tuned.

Link to report: https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/AI-White-Paper-.pdf

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

South Africa CHPC: Home Grown Dynasty

October 22, 2018

Before the build up to the final event in the 2018 Student Cluster Competition season (the SC18 competition in Dallas), I want to take a moment to write about one of the great inspirational stories of these competitions. Read more…

By Dan Olds

NSF Launches Quantum Computing Faculty Fellows Program

October 22, 2018

Efforts to expand quantum computing research capacity continue to accelerate. The National Science Foundation today announced a Quantum Computing & Information Science Faculty Fellows (QCIS-FF) program aimed at devel Read more…

By John Russell

Democratization of HPC Part 3: Ninth Graders Tap HPC in the Cloud to Design Flying Boats

October 18, 2018

This is the third in a series of articles demonstrating the growing acceptance of high-performance computing (HPC) in new user communities and application areas. In this article we present UberCloud use case #208 on how Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Håkon Bull Hove

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

One Small Step Toward Mars: One Giant Leap for Supercomputing

Since the days of the Space Race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, we have continually sought ways to perform experiments in space. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Join IBM at SC18 and Learn to Harness the Next Generation of AI-focused Supercomputing

Blurring the lines between HPC and AI

Today’s high performance computers are helping clients gain insights at an unprecedented pace. The intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and HPC can transform industries while solving some of the world’s toughest challenges. Read more…

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phase, on the near side of a difficult chasm to cross. In respon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

South Africa CHPC: Home Grown Dynasty

October 22, 2018

Before the build up to the final event in the 2018 Student Cluster Competition season (the SC18 competition in Dallas), I want to take a moment to write about o Read more…

By Dan Olds

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phas Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Water Quality—Not Quantity—Hinders HPC Cooling

October 18, 2018

Attention has been paid to the sheer quantity of water consumed by supercomputers’ cooling towers – and rightly so, as they can require thousands of gallons per minute to cool. But in the background, another factor can emerge, bottlenecking efficiency and raising costs: water quality. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Paper Offers ‘Proof’ of Quantum Advantage on Some Problems

October 18, 2018

Is quantum computing worth all the effort being poured into it or should we just wait for classical computing to catch up? An IBM blog today posed those questio Read more…

By John Russell

Dell EMC to Supply U Michigan’s Great Lakes Cluster

October 16, 2018

The University of Michigan (U-M) today announced Dell EMC is the lead vendor for U-M’s $4.8 million Great Lakes HPC cluster scheduled for deployment in first Read more…

By John Russell

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Platform Pushes GPUs into Machine Learning, High Performance Data Analytics

October 10, 2018

GPU leader Nvidia, generally associated with deep learning, autonomous vehicles and other higher-end enterprise and scientific workloads (and gaming, of course) Read more…

By Doug Black

Federal Investment in Exascale – What It Really Means

October 10, 2018

Earlier this month, the EuroHPC JU (Joint Undertaking) reached critical mass, and it seems all EU and affiliated member states, bar the UK (unsurprisingly), have or will sign on. The EuroHPC JU was born from a recognition that individual EU member states, and the EU as a whole, were significantly underinvesting in HPC compared to the US, China and Japan, who all have their own exascale investment and delivery strategies (NSCI, 13th 5 Year Plan, Post-K, etc). Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

D-Wave Breaks New Ground in Quantum Simulation

July 16, 2018

Last Friday D-Wave scientists and colleagues published work in Science which they say represents the first fulfillment of Richard Feynman’s 1982 notion that Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

HPC on Wall Street 2018 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Arista

Dell EMC

IBM

Intel

RStor

VMWare

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GPUs Power Five of World’s Top Seven Supercomputers

June 25, 2018

The top 10 echelon of the newly minted Top500 list boasts three powerful new systems with one common engine: the Nvidia Volta V100 general-purpose graphics proc Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

Aerodynamic Simulation Reveals Best Position in a Peloton of Cyclists

July 5, 2018

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and KU Leuven research group conducts the largest numerical simulation ever done in the sport industry and cycling discipline. The goal was to understand the aerodynamic interactions in the peloton, i.e., the main pack of cyclists in a race. Read more…

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This