The Senate cleared the way for the president to approve implementation of a 10-year plan to accelerate quantum computing research and development. The National Quantum Initiative Act, introduced by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, passed the Senate Dec. 14 by unanimous consent.
The United States is behind many other nations when it comes to crafting a national plan for AI. Last year, China released its “Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan,” with the explicit goal of becoming the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. Over a dozen other countries have also published national AI strategies. The AI revolution is global, and while the United States has a vibrant AI ecosystem, other nations do, too.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai came under fire from lawmakers on Tuesday over the company’s secretive plan to launch a censored search engine in China. During a hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee, Pichai faced sustained questions over the China plan, known as Dragonfly, which would blacklist broad categories of information about democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai confronted a barrage of criticism Tuesday from House Republicans who said his company suppresses conservative voices, exposing Google to the same kind of scrutiny that has destabilized its tech peers this year. Pichai insisted that Google is careful to avoid political bias in its search engine and other products.
For months, Pentagon officials have been rushing to prepare plans for an independent Space Force, a sixth branch of the military ordered up by President Trump. But since Oct. 26, they have been marching to new White House orders: go back and look at different ways to reorganize the military’s space operations.
NASA’s planetary science program has enjoyed significant support over the last several years. After post-sequestration cuts trimmed the program’s budget to less than $1.3 billion in 2013, it’s grown significantly in subsequent years, exceeding $2.2 billion in 2018. The House version of a fiscal year 2019 spending bill, approved by appropriators in May but yet to be considered by the full House, proposed nearly $2.76 billion for the program.
Former Central Intelligence Agency officers Abigail Spanberger and Elissa Slotkin won their House races last week and will be representing Virginia and Michigan respectively. They’re coming to Washington at a time when Congress is expected to address a wide range of cybersecurity issues -- including securing election systems and supply chains.
In addition to beefing up oversight of regulators they believe have been too lax on the tech and telecom industry, Democrats are also making it a top priority to craft internet privacy rules. There has been increasing bipartisan support for a national privacy law in recent months following a string of massive data scandals and breaches at major companies.
The Democratic party will assume majority control of the House of Representatives next January. As a result, the management of all committees in the House will belong to Democrats, who can pursue issues and topics of their choosing. Republicans, consigned to the minority for the first time in 8 years, will have little influence over committee leadership.
Ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) issued a statement after the election results Tuesday night stating that, if elected chairwoman, she wants to restore the credibility of the science committee “as a place where science is respected and recognized as a crucial input to good policymaking.” Johnson said that includes acknowledging that climate change is real, “seeking to understand what climate science is telling us, and working to understand the ways we can mitigate it.”