NOAA Comment Deadline: Draft Strategy Documents for Unmanned Systems, Artificial Intelligence, and the Cloud

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) seeks public comments on three draft strategy documents for Unmanned Systems, Artificial Intelligence, and the Cloud. These strategies are intended to dramatically expand NOAA's application of these three emerging science and technology focus areas by improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and coordination of their development and usage across the agency.

In recent years, individual NOAA programs and its multisector partners have worked to advance successful unmanned systems, artificial intelligence, and cloud solutions that improve the delivery of their respective missions.

The draft strategies NOAA developed for each of these science and technology focus areas directly follow guidance from the Administration and Congress, including the Office of Science and Technology Policy FY21 Research and Development Priorities letter, the National Science and Technology Council report “Science and Technology for America's Oceans: a Decadal Vision”, the Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act, and the Commercial Engagement Through Ocean Technology (CENOTE) Act.

The draft strategies will ensure robust agency-wide coordination and strong institutional support from NOAA senior leadership for these emerging science and technology focus areas to guide transformational advances in the quality and efficiency of NOAA's science, products, and services.

Unmanned Systems Strategy: In recognition of the opportunities unmanned systems presents for addressing NOAA's mission priorities, the NOAA Unmanned Systems Strategy provides a framework to: (1) Efficiently provide requirements-driven, safe, cost-effective, and compliant Unmanned Systems services across the agency; (2) prioritize strategic investments in Unmanned Systems applications and technologies that fuel innovation and strengthen operations, and (3) accelerate and enhance capabilities through partnerships.

Artificial Intelligence Strategy: The overarching goal of the NOAA Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy is to utilize AI to advance NOAA's requirements-driven mission priorities. Through this strategy, NOAA seeks to reduce the cost of data processing, and provide higher quality and more timely scientific products and services for societal benefits.

Cloud Strategy: NOAA's robust experience with cloud applications are already beginning to demonstrate significant improvements in performance and skill in areas such as satellite data products and services, numerical weather prediction, ocean models, and big data analysis, storage and dissemination. Cloud services will be further leveraged to expand benefits, such as: (1) Accelerated timeline to acquire new computing resources, (2) increased security posture, (3) more accessible and monetizable NOAA data to customers, such as academia and industry, (4) reduced transition time from research to operations, (5) scalable infrastructure that supports scientific and high performance computing requirements, and (6) a more agile and innovative culture.

Members of the public may submit comments by email or mail. More information is available at this Federal Register notice.

USPTO Comment Deadline: Intellectual Property Protection for Artificial Intelligence Innovation

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is gathering information about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies on intellectual property law and policy. To assist in gathering this information, on August 27, 2019 (84 FR 44889), the USPTO published questions related to the impact of artificial intelligence inventions on patent law and policy and asked the public for written comments. Those questions cover a variety of topics, including whether revisions to intellectual property protection are needed. The present notice extends this inquiry to copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property rights impacted by AI.

Artificial Intelligence technologies are increasingly becoming important across a diverse spectrum of technologies and businesses. AI poses unique challenges in the sphere of intellectual property law. At a January 31, 2019 conference on “Artificial Intelligence: Intellectual Property Policy Considerations,” USPTO explored a number of those challenges. On August 27, 2019, the USPTO published a request for comment regarding AI's impacts on patent law and policy. As a continuation of this work, the USPTO is also considering the impact of AI on other intellectual property rights.

The USPTO seeks comments on the copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property rights issues that may be impacted by AI. The questions enumerated below are a preliminary guide to aid the USPTO in collecting relevant information to evaluate whether further guidance is needed and to assist in the development of any such guidance with respect to intellectual property policy and its relationship with AI. The questions should not be taken as an indication that the USPTO has taken a position, or is predisposed to any particular views. The USPTO welcomes comments from the public on any issues that they believe are relevant to this topic, and is particularly interested in answers to the following questions:

  1. Should a work produced by an AI algorithm or process, without the involvement of a natural person contributing expression to the resulting work, qualify as a work of authorship protectable under U.S. copyright law? Why or why not?
  2. Assuming involvement by a natural person is or should be required, what kind of involvement would or should be sufficient so that the work qualifies for copyright protection? For example, should it be sufficient if a person (i) designed the AI algorithm or process that created the work; (ii) contributed to the design of the algorithm or process; (iii) chose data used by the algorithm for training or otherwise; (iv) caused the AI algorithm or process to be used to yield the work; or (v) engaged in some specific combination of the foregoing activities? Are there other contributions a person could make in a potentially copyrightable AI-generated work in order to be considered an “author”?
  3. To the extent an AI algorithm or process learns its function(s) by ingesting large volumes of copyrighted material, does the existing statutory language (e.g., the fair use doctrine) and related case law adequately address the legality of making such use? Should authors be recognized for this type of use of their works? If so, how?
  4. Are current laws for assigning liability for copyright infringement adequate to address a situation in which an AI process creates a work that infringes a copyrighted work?
  5. Should an entity or entities other than a natural person, or company to which a natural person assigns a copyrighted work, be able to own the copyright on the AI work? For example: Should a company who trains the artificial intelligence process that creates the work be able to be an owner?
  6. Are there other copyright issues that need to be addressed to promote the goals of copyright law in connection with the use of AI?
  7. Would the use of AI in trademark searching impact the registrablity of trademarks? If so, how?
  8. How, if at all, does AI impact trademark law? Is the existing statutory language in the Lanham Act adequate to address the use of AI in the marketplace?
  9. How, if at all, does AI impact the need to protect databases and data sets? Are existing laws adequate to protect such data?
  10. How, if at all, does AI impact trade secret law? Is the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), 18 U.S.C. 1836 et seq., adequate to address the use of AI in the marketplace?
  11. Do any laws, policies, or practices need to change in order to ensure an appropriate balance between maintaining trade secrets on the one hand and obtaining patents, copyrights, or other forms of intellectual property protection related to AI on the other?
  12. Are there any other AI-related issues pertinent to intellectual property rights (other than those related to patent rights) that the USPTO should examine?
  13. Are there any relevant policies or practices from intellectual property agencies or legal systems in other countries that may help inform USPTO's policies and practices regarding intellectual property rights (other than those related to patent rights)?

Members of the public may submit comments by email or mail. More information is available at this Federal Register notice.

NASEM Webinar: Mathematical Frontiers: Machine Learning for Text

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), as part of their Mathematical Frontiers series, will hold a webinar titled "Machine Learning for Text." Professors Marine Carpuat and Tengyu Ma will discuss how machine learning methods are being applied to text analysis and what these efforts could unveil.

Members of the public may attend the webinar with advance registration. More information is available at this event registration website.

NSF Conference: Nanoscale Science and Engineering Grantees

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will hold its 2019 Nanoscale Science and Engineering Grantees Conference. The two days of the conference will focus on progress in foundational nanotechnology and infrastructure, with topics like artificial intelligence for nanosystems, nanoscale neural systems, quantum phenomena in nanoscale biosystems, cell nanocomponents and synthetic cells, and nano-research centers; and on grand opportunities and convergence, with topics like atomically precise manufacturing, nano convergence with nano-bio-info-Cognitive-AI and intelligent cognitive assistants, convergence learning challenges, and societal and environmental aspects.

Members of the public may attend the conference in person. More information is available at this NSF website.

NIH Meeting: Novel and Exceptional Technology and Research Advisory Committee

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Science Policy, will hold a meeting of the Novel and Exceptional Technology and Research Advisory Committee. The Committee will discuss (1) pathways for responsible innovation in emerging biotechnologies; (2) characteristics of emerging biotechnologies, including presentations on horizon scanning, gene editing in the clinic, gene drives, neurotechnology, artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology; and (3) proactively addressing scientific and societal implications of emerging biotechnologies.

The Novel and Exceptional Technology and Research Advisory Committee is a federal advisory committee that provides recommendations to the NIH Director and a public forum for the discussion of the scientific, safety, and ethical issues associated with emerging biotechnologies.

Members of the public may attend in person or via webcast. More information is available at this Federal Register notice.

NASEM Meeting: Advancing Commercialization from the Federal Laboratories

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy, will hold a meeting of its project titled "Advancing Commercialization from the Federal Laboratories." Among others, agenda items include discussions about technology transfer at the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Institutes of Health; assessing the value of digital products from federal laboratories; research on the industrial use of public research and development research; and intermediary and industry partnerships with labs.

will identify and prioritize opportunities to add economic value to U.S. industry through enhanced utilization of intellectual property around digital products created at federal laboratories. Specifically, the committee will:

  1. examine commercialization of digital products from federally funded R&D at laboratories and extramural awardees;
  2. consider issues in the ownership, use, and repurposing of data, and the effect of data use restrictions on the use and analysis of multiple data sets from different sources;
  3. examine the current state of commercialization of digital products, including barriers to commercialization of digital products;
  4. evaluate approaches for  government-owned, contractor-operator and government-owned, government-operated federal labs to incentivize their researchers and the private sector to commercialize digital products;
  5. review open source versus protected proprietary control of digital products and the factors that lead to making a determination of a selected pathway for commercialization; and
  6. offer recommendations for improvements regarding these digital products, especially with regard to increasing commercialization and use of these digital products in the private sector. 

Members of the public may attend in person. More information is available at this NASEM website.

NIST Meeting: Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will hold a meeting of its Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB). The agenda is expected to include the following items:

  • Briefing on Testing and Conformance Programs used by the Federal Government
  • Briefing on work in Election Infrastructure Cybersecurity
  • Briefing on the Cybersecurity Solarium Report
  • Discussion by the Board on Cybersecurity and Privacy Issues in the Federal Government
  • Discussions by the Board on recent Legislative Proposals and GAO findings in Cybersecurity and Privacy

The ISPAB is authorized by 15 U.S.C. 278g-4, as amended, and advises the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on information security and privacy issues pertaining to Federal government information systems, including thorough review of proposed standards and guidelines developed by NIST. 

Members of the public may attend in person. More information is available at this Federal Register notice.