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The White House blueprint for AI

Protocol Enterprise

Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: the White House releases a set of “rules” for AI usage, Samsung outlines big contract chipmaking goals, and Microsoft’s patch for last week’s Exchange vulnerability didn’t work.

The White House has some technical AI ideas for you

Almost a year ago, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy promised the country an AI Bill of Rights, citing discriminatory and faulty AI unleashed by industry for use with no federal regulatory guidelines.

While not a rulemaking or enforcement body, OSTP might have offered more specific recommendations for future AI regulations or legislation. Instead, today the office unveiled a “blueprint” for an AI Bill of Rights.

Some civil rights and AI watchdogs said it does provide clear principles for AI protections all Americans should have. It lists five AI guidelines:

  • People should be protected from unsafe or ineffective automated systems.
  • They should not face discrimination enabled by algorithmic systems.
  • They should be protected from abusive data practices and unchecked use of surveillance technologies.
  • They should be notified when an AI system is in use and understand how it affects decisions.
  • They should be able to opt out from automation, and when appropriate, interact with a real person.

The document includes a lengthy “technical companion” intended to help incorporate the guidelines into AI design and use.

  • “Upwards of 80% of the document is about precise, prescriptive things that different stakeholders can do to ensure that people’s rights are protected in the design and use of technologies,” Alondra Nelson, the OSTP’s deputy director for science and society, told Protocol.
  • The design suggestions feature some things that are relatively standard in AI product development such as testing AI systems, and monitoring them after deployment.
  • Other suggestions aren’t so standard, such as providing mechanisms for people to opt out from automation in favor of human oversight.

Now, privacy and civil rights groups are watching to see if principles in the blueprint will be put into practice, including when it comes to U.S. government use of AI.

  • Notably, the blueprint features a detailed disclaimer that states that the principles therein are “not intended to, and do not, prohibit or limit any lawful activity of a government agency, including law enforcement, national security, or intelligence activities.”
  • “The Administration must also ensure that systems used by the federal government meet the goals set out in today’s blueprint,” said Alan Butler, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

For important background on how the blueprint came to be, check out my full story.

— Kate Kaye (email| twitter)


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Samsung makes its contract chip pitch

In a large meeting room inside a posh San Jose, California, hotel Monday, a handful of top Samsung chipmaking executives laid out its plans for the next five years.

In a word, it’s ambitious.

Moonsoo Kang, the South Korean company’s semiconductor foundry head, laid out the broad brushstrokes of that plan to a room full of reporters and industry analysts: Samsung plans to triple its contract manufacturing business in three years.

As it stands, the majority of Samsung’s foundry operation is devoted to building chips that power mobile phones, though the company has a substantial fab capacity devoted to consumer, auto, and high-performance computing chips that account for roughly 30% of its revenue.

By 2027, Samsung says it plans to upend the existing mix. Kang said that the company plans a sustained push into automotive and data center chips, which executives aim to grow to nearly half of its overall foundry sales. And it plans to grow its revenue in the U.S. by twelve-fold, compared with 2019.

The muscle behind the Samsung pitch is that it has managed to achieve a number of manufacturing firsts — though some of the claims are debatable. A recent achievement in transistor manufacturing tech theoretically gives chips made with it a leg up over the likes of those produced by TSMC and Intel, for example.

Samsung’s people also outlined its manufacturing process roadmap through 2027. At that point the company will be ready to print chips with its 1.4 nanometer node.

Behind Samsung’s plans remains the reality that it is second place to TSMC as the go-to contract chipmaker for most chip design companies. And with Intel investing heavily in its own foundry operation, Samsung lives in a world of intense and growing competition.

— Max A. Cherney (email | twitter)

Around the enterprise

Microsoft updated its mitigations for the recently discovered Exchange vulnerabilities after researchers pointed out that they were easy to bypass.

Microsoft Azure is on pace to do about $11 billion in cloud revenue this year from U.S. customers, according to Business Insider.


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Learn more

Thanks for reading — see you tomorrow!

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