Changing the AI Policy Game Requires Changing the Rules

By David Hoffman, Associate General Counsel and Global Privacy Officer

Chairman Hurd’s House Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Information Technology has scheduled a hearing on artificial intelligence for Wednesday, Feb 14 at 2 PM EST. The hearing is aptly named “Game Changers.” There’s no question that AI will be a game changer; the question is, what kind? In his testimony before the Subcommittee, Amir Khosrowshahi, Intel’s VP and CTO of the Artificial Intelligence Products Group, will offer thoughts on just that. With a background in neuroscience, machine learning, mathematics, and physics, Amir is one of the world’s foremost technical AI experts. In addition to his technical expertise, he and many of us at Intel have been spending time thinking about what the public policy rules need to be for the changed game that will include AI.

There’s no question that AI will be a game changer.

Amir’s testimony will focus on the way AI can solve large social problems, and what governments need to do to unlock this potential. One of the first ways AI is poised to contribute to social good is through improvements in healthcare. It’s well known, for instance, that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. A diagnosis of “heart disease,” however, is overly broad because there are many different kinds, and they demand different treatments. Usually, experienced doctors are able to make the correct diagnosis three out of four times, while less experienced doctors are correct only 50% of the time. In a recent experiment, researchers using AI were able to distinguish between two types of heart disease – pericarditis and cardiomyopathy – nine out of 10 times. Here is an example that illustrates how employing AI not only improves the odds of an accurate diagnosis but also levels the playing field between experienced and less experienced practitioners – which ultimately improves the odds of survival for the people under the doctors’ care.

AI applications are also proving beneficial to agriculture. It’s estimated that by 2050, we’ll need to produce at least 50 percent more food to feed the growing number of people on Earth. With expanding populations requiring more land that could be used for farming, we’re faced with having to feed more people with less available land. Enter AI applications like sensors, drones, and robots, which give farmers tools to deal with this problem. Technology developed by Intel helps farmers maximize crop yields, reduce environmental impact, and meet growing demand. Often called “precision agriculture,” the technology links sensor data on the ground to nearby Intel® IoT Gateways, which act on the data locally, then send it to cloud service providers who analyze it. The results help farmers both far and near.

Another instance of using AI for the common good is in helping to combat child abuse. For example, when Internet service providers identify instances of suspicious online activity pointing to child exploitation, they send these reports to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) – the nation’s clearinghouse and comprehensive reporting center for all issues related to the prevention of and recovery from child victimization. NCMEC reads through these tips and sends legitimate leads to local law enforcement agencies. But with only 25 analysts to examine over 8 million tips, they have a serious problem of scalability. So, Intel partnered with NCMEC to deliver an AI solution that helps analysts get the right information to the right jurisdiction – scanning sites for suspicious content, storing massive volumes of data, running a variety of queries, and sharing the data across NCMEC’s applications. With AI, the typical 30-day turnaround time to handle a report is reduced to just a day or two – a huge timesaver – and possibly, a life saver.

With all this projected good coming from AI, it’s important that we also address unintended consequences. We believe the government should help society transition to a safe and innovative yet ethical AI future. That future is best enabled by preparing an AI workforce, dealing with workers displaced by AI, ensuring transparency around the use of AI, protecting privacy, and at the same time encouraging AI innovation to drive positive social benefits. Intel is engaging with governments now to make sure the public policy environment’s rules will fit the changed game of AI innovation. I encourage you to watch video from the hearing and review Amir’s testimony. You can also read more about our thoughts on AI in this blog, which links to our AI whitepaper, Artificial Intelligence: the Public Policy Opportunity. We welcome your feedback.