The White House talks AI, but does it understand?

A bewildering world for the White House John Lund/Blend Images/Getty By Brendan Byrne “Data is public in the same way the White House is.” So said Jer Thorp, a Brooklyn–based software artist,  in an “AI Now” workshop on 7 July organised by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.  Thorp meant to highlight the uncertain ownership status of our personal data. He might just as well have been referring to the inscrutability of the White House itself: AI now? This was the final session in the White House’s series exploring the uses of artificial intelligence and their implications. But why, in the final months of Barack Obama’s administration, and faced with a host of social and environmental problems, is the focus on artificial intelligence? It’s natural to imagine…


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