White House wants the nation to get ready for AI

In an effort to drive continued innovation in a handful of key areas of technology and science, President Obama hosted the White House Frontiers Conference, a one-day conference in Pittsburgh. This conference is a joint venture between the White House, the  University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

During the conference, President Obama announced a number of new initiatives. These include funding to help in the development of smart cities, brain research, health, criminal justice, space, and climate change. Also among the initiatives announces was the release of a report titled “Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence.”

This 58-page report outlines a number of important topics related to artificial intelligence. It also touches on the history of AI, the current state of the technology, and where it’s headed in the near future.

Topics of focus in the report include:

  • Applications of AI for Public Good
  • AI and Regulation
  • Research and Workforce
  • Economic Impacts of AI
  • Fairness, Safety, and Governance
  • Global Considerations and Security
  • Preparing for the Future

Artificial intelligence is a big focus in both the public and private sector. It’s being utilized to provide quick, data-driven insights in the areas of business, science, law enforcement, and even national security. We live in a big data world, and that data is becoming increasingly difficult for humans to sort through.

Turning large amounts of unorganized data into actionable insight quickly takes the type of computing power artificial intelligence can provide. This makes AI not only a useful tool for businesses that want to learn more about their customers, but for areas of public interest. According to the report, artificial intelligence is already making an impact:

Public and private sector investments in basic and applied R&D on AI have already begun reaping major benefits to the public in fields as diverse as health care, transportation, the environment, criminal justice, and economic inclusion.

Regulatory considerations are on the front burner

The need for regulation on AI in the interest of public safety is high. For example, smart cars that use AI to assist in obstacle avoidance and steering need to be thoroughly tested, reliable, and meet high safety standards.

Tasks that can’t currently be automated but will through AI will result in less need for human workers. This will have a direct, short-term affect on the economy. The report explores ways AI can be used to assist in building a more skilled workforce. Identifying opportunities for growth aids in offsetting the jobs that artificial intelligence will supplant.

Security and safety are other important areas of consideration. Researchers at MIT have identified how AI can be used to detect cyber attacks with extraordinary accuracy in real time. Cyber attacks and hacking are an increasing concern.

Artificial intelligence is already here, and it’s getting better every day. While Skynet isn’t a real thing yet, we are already seeing the beginnings of a much more connected, intelligent world.

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