Should the US Fund a ‘National Cloud’ for AI Research to Compete With China?



Should the US Fund a ‘National Cloud’ for AI Research to Compete With China? (nbcnews.com)






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EditorDavid

from the outlook-is-cloudy dept.

Big data “has big designs on a big cloud,” reports NBC News:
A steady drumbeat from some of the most influential executives in the technology industry has emerged in recent months to push the idea that the U.S. government should invest in a “national research cloud” — a hub for U.S. research into artificial intelligence where researchers from academia and smaller tech companies could share data sets and other resources.

It’s an idea that has been backed by a government commission led by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt and including executives from Amazon, Microsoft and Oracle, which recommended that the Biden administration create a hub for U.S. research into artificial intelligence. The White House has warmed up to the idea, ordering another report on it due next year with an eye toward competing with China on the development of artificial intelligence. “We should be able to stay ahead of China. We estimated that we are one to two years ahead of China, broadly speaking, in this area. I hope that’s true,” Schmidt said in an interview with NBC News. “Investments that are targeted in research — new algorithms — should be able to keep us ahead,” he said.

The stakes could be enormous. Some experts in artificial intelligence believe it has the potential to transform the economyautomating some jobs, while creating new ones — and the potential military applications have spurred investment by the Pentagon.

But this month, the idea began getting fresh pushback. Research groups including New York University’s AI Now Institute and Data & Society, a nonprofit technology research group based in New York, say the very tech companies pushing this idea stand to profit from it, because the national hub would likely be housed in the same companies’ commercial cloud computing services. They say that’s a conflict, and little more than a cash grab by what’s effectively the next generation of military contractors. The plan also could entrench the very same tech companies that President Joe Biden’s antitrust enforcers are working to rein in, these critics say.



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