AI talk: AI Bill of Rights and athletic robot

Oct. 7, 2022 / By V. “Juggy” Jagannathan, PhD

AI Bill of Rights 

I saw a banner headline in MIT Technology Review this week proclaiming that the White House has come up with a new “AI Bill of Rights.” This is a big deal and probably a bit late in ushering the age of accountability for artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. The European Union has been at this for a while, but as they say, better late than never. I looked up what exactly this bill of rights entails and I must say I like the tagline: “Making automated systems work for the American people.” Indeed! 

 So, what does the bill actually cover? The rights are categorized into five different buckets: 

  • Safe and effective systems 
  • Algorithmic discrimination protections 
  • Data privacy 
  • Notice and explanation 
  • Human alternatives, consideration and fallback 

All in all, a fairly comprehensive list of safeguards on development and deployment of AI systems. Safe and effective systems refers to the underpinning of how the system is trained and evaluated. The algorithmic discrimination piece focuses around the frequently reported bias in AI systems. Data privacy is addressing (probably for the first time) agency over one’s own data. That is, require an explicit opt-in with simple direct language when collecting data and allow users to request and remove data collected from them. Notice and explanation are geared towards notifying individuals impacted by automated system decisions. Such notices and explanations have to be straightforward, meaningful and understandable by lay individuals. The last category is to provide redress to people having to deal with adverse decisions incorrectly determined.  

The AI Bill of Rights, has the right tone, content and structure. It is not clear at the moment though, how this is going to be enforced. 

Robot sets Guinness world record 

I saw a reference to this article in ACM Tech News and was curious to learn what is new here. Turns out a bipedal robot designed by Oregon State University roboticists managed to run 100 meter dash in 24.73 seconds. Usain Bolt, who holds the current record for this event, need not worry though, as the robot time is about 15 seconds more than his. It turns out, the robot has no eyes (cameras) – so it is basically running blind. The video of the run is quite impressive, and it almost exhibits human-like traits in that it slows down to a walk at the end, which looks like it is getting tired (or the battery is running out). Funded by NSF and DARPA, the project shows lot of promise. 

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“Juggy” Jagannathan, PhD,is an AI evangelist with four decades of experience in AI and computer science research.