Big Tech is pushing the ‘national cloud’. Critics say Big Tech will make a profit.

Big Technology has big designs on a big cloud.

In recent months, one of the most influential executives in the technology industry has hit the “national research cloud” in which the US government should invest – data sharing and other resources that academic researchers and small technology companies, the Center for Artificial Intelligence, can share.

It is recommended that Biden’s administration, including former government chief executive Eric Schmidt and government executives and executives from Amazon, Microsoft and Oracle, create an American artificial intelligence research center. The White House has warmly suggested that another report be submitted next year, focusing on the development of artificial intelligence to compete with China.

“We have to be able to move ahead of China. In general, we expect to be one to two years ahead of China in this area. I hope it’s true,” Schmidt told NBC News.

“Investments focused on research – new algorithms – should protect us in the future,” he said.

The damage can be great. Some experts in Artificial Intelligence believe it has the potential to transform the economy – by automatically adjusting some jobs and creating new ones – and potential military applications have sparked investment in the Pentagon.

This month, however, the idea began to push again. New York-based nonprofit technology research team, including research teams from the New York University AI Now and data and community groups, say technology companies that promote this idea benefit from it because the national center could be housed in similar companies. Business cloud computing services.

They say this is a conflict, and it is only a matter of getting the most out of the money for the next military contractor. Critics say the plan could strengthen similar technology companies working to control President Joe Biden’s anti-security forces.

“This is basically a subsidy for big technology companies,” said Meredith Whitter, co-founder of AI Now Institute at Artificial Intelligence Research Center in New York.

Whittar, a former Google researcher, was actively involved in the company’s anti-AI behavior. A.D. She left in 2019 and continues to be critical of how big technology companies handle AI research and impact.

According to Whitaker, Biden’s administration promised in July to take control of “small Internet platforms” that use their power to “monopolize profits.”

“We have to get out of these narrow frames created by self-interested tech oligarchs,” she said.

Criticism from her and other researchers The government did not think much about the negative impact on privacy issues or the acceleration of AI research, and its rivalry with China to win the AI ​​weapons race may have been exacerbated by the cold snap. The shock of war.

For years, the idea of ​​a national cloud has been in the works for academic researchers and others in places like Google or Amazon that provide unparalleled and profitable computing power. Parts for cloud computing.

Advocates say one benefit could be the origin of large and secure databases that help train national cloud AI systems. Some Americans fear that Chinese researchers have a foothold in AI development because they already have access to large and government-licensed databases in China.

This month, AI Now Institute and Data & Society submitted comments on the idea. He argued that the National Cloud Plan would help boost the power of big technology companies and that the Cold War-like competition with China was deceptive and dangerous.

“At what cost to win?” Brittany Smith, director of data and community policy, spoke at the interview. She said the federal task force, which is evaluating the idea, should continue to be careful considering the evidence that large-scale AI systems are discriminatory.

“Always go, go, just. Get started. Build the thing. Let’s face it, ”she told me. “Researchers need to take time,” she said.

There is more suspicion than any other organization. The Washington-based Center for Electronic Privacy Information said in a statement this month that the government “should impose strict restrictions on the influence of stakeholders” in part to protect civil rights.

In an interview, Andrew Moore, head of Google Cloud AI and a member of the Federal Task Force on the issue, said the role of Google and other corporations is limited in any national effort.

“It will be led by academics and relevant government funding agencies,” he said.

He said it was important that no single cloud service provider play a leading role. The national cloud will be like “many clouds.” “We never want to see a future where researchers are tied to certain clouds. We believe in competition among large-scale cloud providers and many others involved.”

Last year’s proposal to develop a national cloud received bilateral support in Congress as well as support from tech companies and several major research universities.

Another incentive was to raise the national cloud in March in a bid to win the AI ​​arms race with China. The commission also includes Oracle CEO Safra Catz; Andy Jassie, CEO of Amazon; And executives in Google and Microsoft.

Representatives from Amazon, Microsoft and Oracle did not respond to requests for comment. The federal government is already a major customer of cloud computing services.

Next, Biden’s administration and Congress are investing heavily. In June, the White House announced the creation of a task force to design a national cloud – officially called National Artificial Intelligence Resources (NAIRR).

The task force must submit an interim report to Congress in May and the final report by November 2022.

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