US creates AI data-sharing task force

Digital brain

The Biden administration has created a task force to promote access to data and other resources to boost artificial intelligence (AI) research.

The National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force involves the White House and the National Science Foundation. It delivers on a congressional mandate passed in the National AI Initiative of 2020, which also called for a National AI Research Resource (NAIRR). The Task Force will be a federal advisory committee that'll develop a road map for implementing and governing the NAIRR.

As part of its mandate, the 12-person committee will also formulate ways to share vast tracts of anonymous data to help with AI training, officials said.

Erwin Gianchandani, senior adviser at the National Science Foundation and co-chair of the task force, told the Wall Street Journal that he'd like researchers to access anonymous driving data to develop AI-powered safety solutions.

Providing access to anonymous data — also known as 'de-identified data — safely is a tricky problem because research has shown it's only sometimes possible under the right circumstances. The sharing of de-identified data is at the center of a political row in the UK, where the government plans to share medical data with researchers.

The task force comprises AI experts from academia, government, and big tech. Its members are:

  • Erwin Gianchandani, NSF (Co-Chair)
  • Lynne Parker, OSTP (Co-Chair)
  • Daniela Braga, DefinedCrowd (a company that sources AI training data)
  • Mark Dean, retired (formerly IBM and University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
  • Oren Etzioni, Allen Institute for AI
  • Julia Lane, New York University
  • Fei Fei Li, Stanford University
  • Andrew Moore, Google
  • Michael Norman, University of California, San Diego
  • Dan Stanzione, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Frederick Streitz, Department of Energy
  • Elham Tabassi, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Trusted AI 101

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Google has been criticized for a spotty track record on AI ethics. After a week, the company scrapped its AI ethics board and then issued a non-apology after firing AI ethics co-lead Timnit Gebru, allegedly for raising concerns over the ethics of some of its AI research.

There are no privacy or civil rights advocacy groups on the committee, which is mandated to explore these issues under the legislation that created it.

The task force likely represents a do-over of the AI Initiative Office that the Trump government rushed out in the last week of its tenure.

Danny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury has been a print journalist specialising in technology since 1989 and a freelance writer since 1994. He has written for national publications on both sides of the Atlantic and has won awards for his investigative cybersecurity journalism work and his arts and culture writing. 

Danny writes about many different technology issues for audiences ranging from consumers through to software developers and CIOs. He also ghostwrites articles for many C-suite business executives in the technology sector and has worked as a presenter for multiple webinars and podcasts.