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The week’s biggest story was Elon Musk’s OpenAI team of bots defeating human players at the video game Dota 2. It was widely hailed as a major breakthrough because of the nature of collaboration between different neural networks to defeat human players, with Bill Gates adding particular weight to the supporting chorus. The Verge’s James Vincent, however, highlighted that the bots had yet to take on the professionals.

The breakthrough brings more prominence to OpenAI, a non-profit founded on the principles of building Artificial General Intelligence (kind of AI for the purist) for public good, not harm. The name of the endeavour itself, so closely echoing open-source, has raised debate about the dangers of open approaches to AI, just as Musk and his team have highlighted the dangers of closed AI development. If much AI development and research becomes freely available, are their dangers it could be built upon by those with malevolent intent? So goes the argument, but the team at OpenAI won’t be worrying this week, instead basking in the glory of their win, even if it was against the amateurs.

News in Brief:

Around Whitehall:

Matt Hancock at the Opening of Cyber Security Innovation Centre

On opening the new Cyber Security Innovation Centre, Culture and Digital secretary Matt Hancock, reemphasised the importance of AI in driving the UK economy post Brexit. As reported here by Computer Weekly’s security editor Warwick Ashford, the Government minister proclaimed that “cutting-edge technology, coupled with creative and artistic genius, is the fulcrum on which our country will be built.” Hancock also reiterated the Government’s belief that ethical AI is a potential differentiator against competitive markets and highlighted the forthcoming role of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.

Hancock touched on the importance of data security given the reliance of AI upon that specific commodity. However, based on Ashford’s report, the Minister might have said more about cyber than the role AI might play in enhancing cyber defences and protecting systems and data.

Government Announces Key AI Appointments – Including DeepMind cofounder

The Government announced the appointment of Dr Demis Hassabis as an adviser to the new Office for Artificial Intelligence. In addition, CognitionX co-founder Tabitha Goldstaub was named chair of the new AI Council and the UK’s AI Business Champion, while Professor Dame Wendy Hall was confirmed as first Skills Champion for AI in the UK.

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