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AI Experts Weigh in on the White House Approach to Artificial Intelligence

By TechRepublic

October 25, 2016

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The recent White House Frontiers Conference and the release of a new report, "Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence," builds on the current administration's vision for the development and regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

AI experts are impressed with President Obama's commitment to innovation but have emphasized the need for clarity around certain economic and safety ramifications of AI.

A national conversation on unemployment caused by the rise of AI is needed, according to some experts. "I am not as optimistic as Obama that as many jobs will be created as destroyed by technology," says Toby Walsh, professor of AI at the University of New South Wales. "Just because this was true in the past, does not mean it is necessarily true in the future."

Policy makers also must have a better understanding of the difference between narrow AI and artificial general intelligence (AGI); narrow AI involves the programming of a computer to master a specific skill, and AGI can obtain a broader understanding of the world. University of Connecticut professor Susan Schneider says the clarification around AGI has important safety ramifications.

Although Walsh agrees with Obama that this emerging industry should not be over-regulated, he is disappointed the government has not done more to oversee AI safety, including the regulation of autonomous weapons and vehicles.

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