UK and US launch price challenges to develop democratic technological innovations | Science and tech news

The UK and US governments are today launching a series of pricing challenges – aimed at tackling financial crime and public health emergencies – amid concerns over China’s technological progress.

The challenges are based on using AI tools to examine large and potentially sensitive data sets, although synthetic financial and medical data are used for the challenges themselves.

They stem from concerns that China is surpassing Western countries with its AI research — which some believe is at least partially hampered in the West by stricter privacy laws and technical and ethical concerns.

The challenges were first announced last year at the Summit for Democracy, a virtual meeting hosted by the US with the intention of “renewing democracy at home” and “facing autocracies abroad”.

Earlier this year, the government confirmed that it would jointly fund the challenge for people to come up with mechanisms to train AI models on sensitive data without actually revealing the data.

Because machine learning tools require massive amounts of data to be trained, privacy-enhancing technologies are a focus, as they can make it possible to use sensitive personal or commercial data without the usual risks of sharing the data.

Winning solutions to the challenge will be eligible for a cash prize from the combined £1.3 million prize pool, and will be showcased at the second Summit for Democracy, which President Joe Biden plans to convene in the first half of next year. .

The first challenge will help tackle international money laundering, which the UN estimates costs up to $2 trillion a year, some of which contribute to organized crime and some of which can be attributed to kleptocrats in authoritarian regimes.

The second challenge related to medical data could allow countries to strengthen their capacities to respond to a pandemic, potentially allowing health services to predict a person’s risk of infection without compromising that person’s privacy.

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“We are on the cusp of solving some of the world’s most intractable problems and improving our quality of life with the power of artificial intelligence, but we must do it responsibly through our shared values ​​around privacy up,” said US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. .

“I am thrilled that we are launching these joint privacy-enhancing technology challenges between the UK and US and motivating our best researchers in industry and academia to innovate on privacy protection so that we can all reap the benefits. can reap,” she added.

“This partnership demonstrates the commitment of the UK and US to work together to tackle transnational challenges, and to ensure that our vision of the tech revolution – one that is open and democratic – prevails,” added Nadine. Dorries, the UK’s digital secretary, is ready.

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