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!

What’s New in Computing vs. COVID-19: Fugaku, Congress, De Novo Design & More

July 2, 2020

Supercomputing, big data and artificial intelligence are crucial tools in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Around the world, researchers, corporations and governments are urgently devoting their computing reso Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

July 2, 2020

Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time last year, IBM announced open sourcing its Power instructio Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Career Notes: July 2020 Edition

July 1, 2020

In this monthly feature, we'll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it's a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we've got Read more…

By Mariana Iriarte

Supercomputers Enable Radical, Promising New COVID-19 Drug Development Approach

July 1, 2020

Around the world, innumerable supercomputers are sifting through billions of molecules in a desperate search for a viable therapeutic to treat COVID-19. Those molecules are pulled from enormous databases of known compoun Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPC-Powered Simulations Reveal a Looming Climatic Threat to Vital Monsoon Seasons

June 30, 2020

As June draws to a close, eyes are turning to the latter half of the year – and with it, the monsoon and hurricane seasons that can prove vital or devastating for many of the world’s coastal communities. Now, climate Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

Maxar Builds HPC on AWS to Deliver Forecasts 58% Faster Than Weather Supercomputer

When weather threatens drilling rigs, refineries, and other energy facilities, oil and gas companies want to move fast to protect personnel and equipment. And for firms that trade commodity shares in oil, precious metals, crops, and livestock, the weather can significantly impact their buy-sell decisions. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Supercomputing the Pandemic: Scientific Community Tackles COVID-19 from Multiple Perspectives

Since their inception, supercomputers have taken on the biggest, most complex, and most data-intensive computing challenges—from confirming Einstein’s theories about gravitational waves to predicting the impacts of climate change. Read more…

Hyperion Forecast – Headwinds in 2020 Won’t Stifle Cloud HPC Adoption or Arm’s Rise

June 30, 2020

The semiannual taking of HPC’s pulse by Hyperion Research – late fall at SC and early summer at ISC – is a much-watched indicator of things come. This year is no different though the conversion of ISC to a digital Read more…

By John Russell

OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

July 2, 2020

Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion Forecast – Headwinds in 2020 Won’t Stifle Cloud HPC Adoption or Arm’s Rise

June 30, 2020

The semiannual taking of HPC’s pulse by Hyperion Research – late fall at SC and early summer at ISC – is a much-watched indicator of things come. This yea Read more…

By John Russell

Racism and HPC: a Special Podcast

June 29, 2020

Promoting greater diversity in HPC is a much-discussed goal and ostensibly a long-sought goal in HPC. Yet it seems clear HPC is far from achieving this goal. Re Read more…

Top500 Trends: Movement on Top, but Record Low Turnover

June 25, 2020

The 55th installment of the Top500 list saw strong activity in the leadership segment with four new systems in the top ten and a crowning achievement from the f Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ISC 2020 Keynote: Hope for the Future, Praise for Fugaku and HPC’s Pandemic Response

June 24, 2020

In stark contrast to past years Thomas Sterling’s ISC20 keynote today struck a more somber note with the COVID-19 pandemic as the central character in Sterling’s annual review of worldwide trends in HPC. Better known for his engaging manner and occasional willingness to poke prickly egos, Sterling instead strode through the numbing statistics associated... Read more…

By John Russell

ISC 2020’s Student Cluster Competition Winners Announced

June 24, 2020

Normally, the Student Cluster Competition involves teams of students building real computing clusters on the show floors of major supercomputer conferences and Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Hoefler’s Whirlwind ISC20 Virtual Tour of ML Trends in 9 Slides

June 23, 2020

The ISC20 experience this year via livestreaming and pre-recordings is interesting and perhaps a bit odd. That said presenters’ efforts to condense their comments makes for economic use of your time. Torsten Hoefler’s whirlwind 12-minute tour of ML is a great example. Hoefler, leader of the planned ISC20 Machine Learning... Read more…

By John Russell

At ISC, the Fight Against COVID-19 Took the Stage – and Yes, Fugaku Was There

June 23, 2020

With over nine million infected and nearly half a million dead, the COVID-19 pandemic has seized the world’s attention for several months. It has also dominat Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Global Supercomputing Is Mobilizing Against COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Tech has been taking some heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Global supply chains have been disrupted, virtually every major tech conference taking place over the next few months has been canceled... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Steve Scott Lays Out HPE-Cray Blended Product Roadmap

March 11, 2020

Last week, the day before the El Capitan processor disclosures were made at HPE's new headquarters in San Jose, Steve Scott (CTO for HPC & AI at HPE, and former Cray CTO) was on-hand at the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. He was there to discuss the HPE-Cray transition and blended roadmap, as well as his favorite topic, Cray's eighth-gen networking technology, Slingshot. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Honeywell’s Big Bet on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

April 7, 2020

Honeywell doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of quantum computing pioneers, but a decade ago the high-tech conglomerate better known for its control systems waded deliberately into the then calmer quantum computing (QC) waters. Fast forward to March when Honeywell announced plans to introduce an ion trap-based quantum computer whose ‘performance’ would... Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers


Neocortex Will Be First-of-Its-Kind 800,000-Core AI Supercomputer

June 9, 2020

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC - a joint research organization of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) has won a $5 million award Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU: Up to 2.5X the HPC, 20X the AI

May 14, 2020

Nvidia's first Ampere-based graphics card, the A100 GPU, packs a whopping 54 billion transistors on 826mm2 of silicon, making it the world's largest seven-nanom Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

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

TACC Supercomputers Run Simulations Illuminating COVID-19, DNA Replication

March 19, 2020

As supercomputers around the world spin up to combat the coronavirus, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is announcing results that may help to illumina Read more…

By Staff report

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