AI News, Commentary: Artificial Intelligence Will Require Oversight, Regulation artificial intelligence
Europe's Digital Strategy - Part 1: AI Regulation
February 21, 2020 Last week, the EU took steps to further flesh out their emerging digital strategy with the release of two white papers, one on AI regulation, and the other on a European data strategy.
The first white paper, on promoting “excellence and trust” in artificial intelligence, has so far been largely notable for what it does not include, namely, the five-year ban on the use of facial recognition in public spaces that had been part of an earlier draft.
Under the rules set out in the white paper, high-risk AI would face heightened regulatory requirements around the training data they use, how they retain records and data, what information they provide to users, the accuracy and robustness of the systems, and the level of human oversight baked into the process.
The only options are “no regulation” or “heavy regulation,” and it is virtually guaranteed that a large number of moderately risky AI systems will end up falling into the high-risk bucket and being subjected to onerous and disproportionate requirements by regulators.
If the developers of moderate-risk systems end up struggling to innovate under heavy legal requirements, or eschewing the EU market altogether, it would not only deny European citizens the benefits of those AI technologies, but also set a damaging global precedent for how technology governance can be accomplished.
AI systems are already making decisions about what treatments we get in hospitals, whether we are hired on for a new job, whether the police target us as the suspect in a crime, and whether it’s safe to take that next left at the intersection.
For instance, legal requirements surrounding accuracy and robustness should not lead to a regulatory regime requiring source code disclosure—a practice that is far less useful for AI risk management than policymakers tend to think, and which could complicate regulatory efforts due to pushback from firms concerned about the protection of their trade secrets.
The world needs a strong example of what technology governance should look like in the age of big data and artificial intelligence, but that governance structure must be capable of dynamically balancing benefits and risks as new technologies emerge.
America’s Special Operators Will Be Adrift Without Better Civilian Oversight
But according to a recently released comprehensive review of U.S. Special Operations Command, their fixation on developing those skills creates “situations allowing for misconduct and unethical behavior.” As America’s priority shifts away from counterterrorism, the report notes that the requirements of great power competition “are challenging a [special operations forces] culture with a bias towards force employment.” This culture is unlikely to change as long as special operations forces govern themselves.
When Congress created the command in 1987, it also created a civilian official — the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict — to oversee and advocate for the new military command.
Insufficient civilian oversight has contributed to the command’s over-emphasis on direct-action capabilities, ethics problems, and a special operations force that is ill-prepared to meet the challenges of great power competition.
Without stronger guidance and oversight from civilian leadership in the Pentagon and Congress, it is unlikely that U.S. Special Operations Command will enact the necessary changes to produce capable and ethical special operations forces — forces vital in competition against great power rivals like China and Russia.
Special operations forces participate in new organizational structures aimed at defeating near-peer adversaries, but these organizations are designed for conventional armed conflict rather than great power competition.
Beyond the lack of true innovation, a series of legal and ethical problems threatens to destroy the force’s credibility and undercut the broad, bipartisan congressional support it has gained over the past two decades.
Documented expertly by Andrew Milburn, some of the ethical issues include the 2017 killing of a Special Forces soldier by a Navy SEAL in the wake of a sexual assault gone wrong, spousal murder, child rape, and drug trafficking — events that indicate organizational issues.
While willful neglect of special operations oversight was convenient for U.S. Special Operations Command, Pentagon officials, and members of Congress when the global war on terror was the country’s main national security effort, weak oversight of special operations forces will not force the organization to undertake the necessary adaptations required to compete with near-peer adversaries.
The original intent for assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict is clear: His “principal duty [is] the overall supervision (including oversight of policy and resources) of special operations activities …” But unlike the role of the military’s service secretaries, whose positions and organizations are outlined in Title 10, the specific organization and authorities of the assistant secretary have never been clearly defined or appropriately resourced.
RAND’s 2019 report on service competition found that U.S. special operations’ “dominant side is on the use of strikes and raids” and that a “preponderance of operations and attention since September 11, 2001, has focused on the direct approach.” The 2017 National Security Strategy and 2018 National Defense Strategy affirm the importance of special warfare and information operations, which are more relevant to competition below the level of armed conflict but had been sidelined in favor of direct-action operations during the War on Terror.
First, in 2013, it requested and received the authority to man, train, and equip the theater special operations commands, which coordinate special operations missions for geographical combatant commanders.
Section 922 of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act stated that the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict had preeminence for all “matters relating to the organization, training, and equipping of special operations forces.” Despite this clear message from Congress, both the Pentagon and U.S. Special Operations Command continue to slow-roll the law’s implementation.
For example, although the military command and the assistant secretary jointly signed a 2019 vision statement, U.S. Special Operations Command largely ignored input from the assistant secretary’s staff on the statement’s final language.
The publishing of a subsequent special operations strategy, signed only by the current commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, came as a surprise to the assistant secretary, whose staff did not have an opportunity to review the document.
Towards Better Special Operations Oversight Any new oversight plan must strengthen the office of the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict without diminishing the ability of special operators to innovate and reform — a key strength of special operations forces.
Though the lack of a true civilian advocate in the Pentagon could conceivably frustrate special operations leadership, U.S. Special Operations Command prefers to request budgets, issue vision statements, and obtain operational approvals without having to go through civilian intermediaries below the level of the secretary of defense.
The creation of a new undersecretary would almost certainly evoke strong protest from the Pentagon, especially the undersecretary of defense for policy, who would lose control over a substantial part of his portfolio while facing competition on issues related to special operations policy.
A single assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict would remain responsible for both special operations policy and man, train, equip issues but have clearly delineated lines separating policy issues from service-secretary-like responsibilities.
Original articleThe ethical, legal and social implications of using artificial intelligence systems in breast cancer care
Breast cancer care is a leading area for development of artificial intelligence (AI), with applications including screening and diagnosis, risk calculation, prognostication and clinical decision-support, management planning, and precision medicine.
Once artificial intelligence becomes institutionalised, it may be difficult to reverse: a proactive role for government, regulators and professional groups will help ensure introduction in robust research contexts, and the development of a sound evidence base regarding real-world effectiveness.
- On 4. december 2020
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