Tech experts warn lawmakers that the US has no equal


Microsoft chief science officer Eric Horvitz warned lawmakers on Tuesday that America’s application of artificial intelligence is not reaching its full potential.

“What grade would you give the Department of Defense today on the implementation and use of AI?” He asked South Dakota Republican Senator Mike Rounds during a hearing.

Mr Horvitz responded to most of the US with a D or maybe a C-.

“I think about healthcare and how artificial intelligence is a sleeping giant for healthcare. [veterans affairs] system or other places,” he said.

Artificial intelligence is the use of computer systems to complete tasks that typically require human action, such as tasks involving language, perception and decision making. Advances in machine learning and robotics have helped make AI tools valuable to governments and businesses, and have opened up new opportunities and challenges for countries waging war and battling aggressors.

Mr Horvitz noted that the Department of Defense did not deserve to be selected as unsuccessful given its capture efforts, and that most of the department’s operations would benefit from basic use of machine learning tools.

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Testing at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Google and other technologists from Georgetown University expressed concern about AI shortcomings, although they were a little more optimistic.

Andrew Moore, Google Cloud’s lead AI manager, said he fears the US government’s actions may not align with its conversations on artificial intelligence.

“The way we’re structured within the US government with such brilliant people in the US military who are willing to try new things is great, but I’m really worried if I don’t see a concerted effort instead. Just don’t talk too much,” said Mr. Moore.

He said the Department of Defense needed a centralized effort for AI across the workforce because AI wasn’t something that could be easily added to all existing systems.

Artificial intelligence experts who briefed lawmakers about AI’s applications in cyberspace agreed that America was ahead of its AI rivals. Andrew Lohn of Georgetown University said China is still not settled.

“I tried to examine this directly and the US is ahead, China is winning,” Mr. Lohn said. “We still have an innovation leader, I’m sure I will say, and we have companies like the ones represented here who are giving us a big boost.”

Mr Lohn also said that the Department of Defense does not deserve a D rating in AI implementation, although he noted there were many reasons to be pessimistic.


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