Yakir Golan


AI Future According to a New Report by The US Administration

Yesterday, Oct 12th, the White House released a report on the future directions and considerations for AI called Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence summarizing the opportunities, considerations, and challenges of AI.

The report summarizes the current state of AI, potential applications, and go through few points regarding the impact AI may have on society and public policies.

“Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology have opened up new markets and new opportunities for progress in critical areas such as health, education, energy, and the environment. In recent years, machines have surpassed humans in the performance of certain specific tasks, such as some aspects of image recognition. Experts forecast that rapid progress in the field of specialized artificial intelligence will continue. Although it is very unlikely that machines will exhibit broadly-applicable intelligence comparable to or exceeding that of humans in the next 20 years, it is to be expected that machines will reach and exceed human performance on more and more tasks.”

The report lists 23 recommendations for further actions to promote and leverage AI technologies. See a list of relevant recommendations to the commercial industries and academy below.

A companion document, setting out a strategic plan for federal funded R&D activities in AI, was released today — National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan.

The following summarizes the key points raised regarding Cybersecurity & AI:

  • AI has important applications in Cybersecurity both in defensive and offensive measures.
  • Development of advanced, autonomous systems that can detect, evaluate, and patch software vulnerabilities before adversaries have a chance to exploit them should be accelerated.
  • AI has the potential to automate Cybersecurity experts’ work on both end of designing and operating secure systems. It also has the potential to reduce significantly the needed time and attention from these experts.
  • Automating experts’ work partially or entirely can increase security across systems and applications at dramatically lower cost, and could increase the agility of the Nation’s cyber-defenses.
  • AI can help to achieve the needed rapid response to detect and react to the ever evolving cyber threats.
  • One out of the 23 recommendations is focused on Cybersecurity. Recommendation #22 states: “Agencies’ plans and strategies should account for the influence of AI on Cybersecurity, and of Cybersecurity on AI. Agencies involved in AI issues should engage their U.S. Government and private-sector Cybersecurity colleagues for input on how to ensure that AI systems and ecosystems are secure and resilient to intelligent adversaries. Agencies involved in Cybersecurity issues should engage their U.S. Government and private sector AI colleagues for innovative ways to apply AI for effective and efficient Cybersecurity.”

I believe that the greatest value will come if the US Administration will enforce its agencies to share relevant data-sets for learning purposes. This can bring a huge boost in many areas where AI can and is implemented since the greatest challenge all organizations, academic institutes and commercial vendors face while developing AI technologies is the availability of labeled representative data sets. Specifically, in Cybersecurity, if governmental agencies would have been forced to publicly share data about current cyber-attacks and their indicators, the capability to automatically learn and predict future cyber-attack would have been increased dramatically!

10 (out of 23) Key recommendations relevant for the commercial industries and the academy:

  1. Private and public institutions are encouraged to examine whether and how they can responsibly leverage AI and machine learning in ways that will benefit society (Recommendation #1).
  2. Federal agencies should prioritize open training data and open data standards in AI (Recommendation #2).
  3. The Department of Transportation should work with industry and researchers on ways to increase sharing of data for safety, research, and other purposes (Recommendation #7).
  4. The U.S. Government should invest in developing and implementing an advanced and automated air traffic management system that is highly scalable, and can fully accommodate autonomous and piloted aircraft alike (Recommendation #8).
  5. The Department of Transportation should continue to develop an evolving framework for regulation to enable the safe integration of fully automated vehicles and UAS, including novel vehicle designs, into the transportation system (Recommendation #9).
  6. Federal agencies that make grants to state and local governments in support of the use of AI-based systems to make consequential decisions about individuals should review the terms of grants to ensure that AI-based products or services purchased with Federal grant funds produce results in a sufficiently transparent fashion and are supported by evidence of efficacy and fairness (Recommendation #17).
  7. Schools and universities should include ethics, and related topics in security, privacy, and safety, as an integral part of curricula on AI, machine learning, computer science, and data science (Recommendation #18).
  8. AI professionals, safety professionals, and their professional societies should work together to continue progress toward a mature field of AI safety engineering (Recommendation #19).
  9. The U.S. Government should deepen its engagement with key international stakeholders, including foreign governments, international organizations, industry, academia, and others, to exchange information and facilitate collaboration on AI R&D (Recommendation #20).
  10. Agencies’ plans and strategies should account for the influence of AI on Cybersecurity, and of cybersecurity on AI (Recommendation #22).

AI’s potential impact on our society is enormous. It can serve as a key economic driver and transform many industries. At the same time, it should be addressed with absolute attention to manage the potential risk it may bring along — unemployment, autonomous machines, etc. The US administration focus on AI expressed in these recently released reports and guidelines is a blessing and we should support this effort by bringing AI to new territories and supporting education and academic research efforts.

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