The White House's guidelines on AI R&D


13 Oct 2016

The White House lays down guidelines for AI research

With research on artificial intelligence, both government and private, progressing at breakneck speed, the White House has released two papers offering a framework limiting such research.

While these papers aren't binding, their aim is to prevent AI from becoming a threat to humanity.


So what are these guidelines about?

So what are these guidelines about?

The two papers, titled "Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence" and "National Artificial Intelligence and Development Strategic Plan" seek to establish middle ground between government and corporate interests insofar as AI is concerned.

Assuming corporate AI research bodies to pursue corporate goals, the papers seek to lay down guidelines to address societal and ethical issues which corporates might not address.

Guidelines #1

Major White House guidelines for AI research #1

In order to prevent AI replacing humans, the White House further encourages research aimed to make human-AI collaboration possible and efficient.

To facilitate the aforementioned process, it also encourages research to understand and address the societal, legal and ethical implications of AI and design AI systems which correspond to prescribed social, legal and ethical goals.

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The White House guidelines on human participation

"An AI-enabled world demands a data-literate citizenry that is able to read, use, interpret, and communicate about data, and participate in policy debates about matters affected by AI," the guidelines stated addressing the issue of human collaboration and participation in AI-related matters.

Guidelines #2

Major White House guidelines for AI research #2

To ensure smooth synthesis of AI into human society, the White House encourages research to guarantee that AI systems will function securely and safely in a well-understood, well-defined and controlled manner.

Consequently, it encourages research into standards, benchmarks and other evaluation techniques which will ensure that all AI systems, before integration into society, adheres to a well-defined standard.

The White House guidelines on safety protocols for AI

"Experience in building other types of safety-critical systems and infrastructure, such as aircraft, power plants, bridges, and vehicles, has much to teach AI practitioners about verification and validation," one of the papers stated addressing safety protocols related to AI.

Guidelines #3

Major White House guidelines for AI research #3

Since AI systems learn from and are, to a huge extent, dependent on data, the White House guidelines also address this need.

Therefore, the quality of available data, its depth and its accuracy significantly affect performance of AI systems.

The US government, therefore, encourages the development of shared public datasets and environments to enable high-quality AI testing and AI training resources.

The White House on data required for AI systems

"Federal actors should focus in the near-term on developing increasingly rich sets of data, consistent with consumer privacy, that can better inform policy-making as these technologies mature," one of the reports stated.

Guidelines #4

Major White House guidelines for AI research #4

The US government, in a bid to remain the world leader in AI R&D, urges long-term in next generation AI systems.

The White House also encourages a better understanding of national AI R&D workforce needs in order find ways to provide a steady supply of AI experts to fuel research in the sector over the coming years.

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