The Wilson Center (also known as the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) in Washington, DC is hosting a live webcast tomorrow on Dec. 3, 2020 and a call for applications for an internship (deadline; Dec. 18, 2020) and all of it concerns artificial intelligence (AI).
Assessing the AI Agenda: a Dec. 3, 2020 event
This looks like there could be some very interesting discussion about policy and AI, which could be applicable to other countries, as well as, the US. From a Dec. 2, 2020 Wilson Center announcements (received via email),
Assessing the AI Agenda: Policy Opportunities and Challenges in the 117th Congress
Dec. 3, 2020
11:00am – 12:30pm ET
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies occupy a growing share of the legislative agenda and pose a number of policy opportunities and challenges. Please join The Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) for a conversation with Senate and House staff from the AI Caucuses, as they discuss current policy proposals on artificial intelligence and what to expect — including oversight measures–in the next Congress. The public event will take place on Thursday, December 3  from 11am to 12:30pm EDT, and will be hosted virtually on the Wilson Center’s website. RSVP today.
- Sam Mulopulos, Legislative Assistant, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
- Sean Duggan, Military Legislative Assistant, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
- Dahlia Sokolov, Staff Director, Subcommittee on Research and Technology, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
- Mike Richards, Deputy Chief of Staff, Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX)
Meg King, Director, Science and Technology Innovation Program, The Wilson Center
We hope you will join us for this critical conversation. To watch, please RSVP and bookmark the webpage. Tune in at the start of the event (you may need to refresh once the event begins) on December 3. Questions about this event can be directed to the Science and Technology Program through email at email@example.com or Twitter @WilsonSTIP using the hashtag #AICaucus.
Wilson Center’s AI Lab
This initiative brings to mind some of the science programmes that the UK government hosts for the members of Parliament. From the Wilson Center’s Artificial Intelligence Lab webpage,
Artificial Intelligence issues occupy a growing share of the Legislative and Executive Branch agendas; every day, Congressional aides advise their Members and Executive Branch staff encounter policy challenges pertaining to the transformative set of technologies collectively known as artificial intelligence. It is critically important that both lawmakers and government officials be well-versed in the complex subjects at hand.
What the Congressional and Executive Branch Labs Offer
Similar to the Wilson Center’s other technology training programs (e.g. the Congressional Cybersecurity Lab and the Foreign Policy Fellowship Program), the core of the Lab is a six-week seminar series that introduces participants to foundational topics in AI: what is machine learning; how do neural networks work; what are the current and future applications of autonomous intelligent systems; who are currently the main players in AI; and what will AI mean for the nation’s national security. Each seminar is led by top technologists and scholars drawn from the private, public, and non-profit sectors and a critical component of the Lab is an interactive exercise, in which participants are given an opportunity to take a hands-on role on computers to work through some of the major questions surrounding artificial intelligence. Due to COVID-19, these sessions are offered virtually. When health guidance permits, these sessions will return in-person at the Wilson Center.
Who Should Apply
The Wilson Center invites mid- to senior-level Congressional and Executive Branch staff to participate in the Lab; the program is also open to exceptional rising leaders with a keen interest in AI. Applicants should possess a strong understanding of the legislative or Executive Branch governing process and aspire to a career shaping national security policy.
Side trip: Science Meets (Canadian) Parliament
Briefly, here’s a bit about a programme in Canada, ‘Science Meets Parliament’ from the Canadian Science Policy Centre (CSPC); a not-for-profit, and the Canadian Office of the Chief Science Advisor (OCSA); a position with the Canadian federal government. Here’s a description of the programme from the Science Meets Parliament application webpage,
The objective of this initiative is to strengthen the connections between Canada’s scientific and political communities, enable a two-way dialogue, and promote mutual understanding. This initiative aims to help scientists become familiar with policy making at the political level, and for parliamentarians to explore using scientific evidence in policy making. [emphases mine] This initiative is not meant to be an advocacy exercise, and will not include any discussion of science funding or other forms of advocacy.
CSPC’s program aims to benefit the parliamentarians, the scientific community and, indirectly, the Canadian public.
This seems to be a training programme designed to teach scientists how to influence policy and to teach politicians to base their decisions on scientific evidence or, perhaps, lean on scientific experts that they met in ‘Science Meets Parliament’?
I hope they add some critical thinking to this programme so that politicians can make assessments of the advice they’re being given. Scientists have their blind spots too.
Here’s more from the Science Meets Parliament application webpage, about the latest edition,
CSPC and OCSA are pleased to offer this program in 2021 to help strengthen the connection between the science and policy communities. The program provides an excellent opportunity for researchers to learn about the inclusion of scientific evidence in policy making in Parliament.
The application deadline is January 4th, 2021
You can find out more about benefits, eligibility, etc. on the application page.
Paid Graduate Research Internship: AI & Facial Recognition
Getting back to the Wilson Center, there’s this opportunity (from a Dec. 1, 2020 notice received by email),
New policy is on the horizon for facial recognition technologies (FRT). Many current proposals, including The Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act of 2020 and The Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence Act, either target the use of FRT in areas such as criminal justice or propose general moratoria until guidelines can be put in place. But these approaches are limited by their focus on negative impacts. Effective planning requires a proactive approach that considers broader opportunities as well as limitations and includes consumers, along with federal, state and local government uses.
More research is required to get us there. The Wilson Center seeks to better understand a wide range of opportunities and limitations, with a focus on one critically underrepresented group: consumers. The Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) is seeking an intern for Spring 2021 to support a new research project on understanding FRT from the consumer perspective.
A successful candidate will:
- Have a demonstrated track record of work on policy and ethical issues related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) generally, Facial Recognition specifically, or other emerging technologies.
- Be able to work remotely.
- Be enrolled in a degree program, recently graduated (within the last year) and/or have been accepted to enter an advanced degree program within the next year.
Interested applicants should submit:
- Cover letter explaining your general interest in STIP and specific interest in this topic, including dates and availability.
- CV / Resume
- Two brief writing samples (formal and/or informal), ideally demonstrating your work in science and technology research.
Applications are due Friday, December 18th . Please email all application materials as a single PDF to Erin Rohn, firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions on this role can be directed to Anne Bowser, email@example.com.