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As Google seeks to improve its technology and fight off stiff competition in this space, it makes little sense that it would welcome government regulation. So why would Pichai suggest the opposite? One big reason is to head off the kind of regulation he doesn’t want. Both the U.S. and the European Union are moving closer to instituting rules for artificial intelligence, and their approaches are already diverging. This month, the Trump administration released a draft set of guidelines for federal agencies to consider when making rules for artificial intelligence in the private sector, emphasizing that they must “avoid regulatory or non-regulatory actions that needlessly hamper AI innovation and growth.” Meanwhile, the European Union is contemplating sweeping rules, like a five-year ban on facial recognition technology in public spaces. Google might be just fine with the latter regulation — Google doesn’t sell facial recognition technology, though its rivals Microsoft and Amazon do — but Pichai is clearly concerned about the possibility of conflicting global regulatory standards, and the expense and headaches they will create for the industry. Moreover, Google has its own set of principles for dealing with artificial intelligence, and it’s been touting them as a potential framework for governments since 2018. While the company’s framework sounds nice enough — it urges privacy features in private companies’ AI work and asks that they don’t reflect unfair human biases — it’s a far cry from the type of firm public policy that would protect marginalized groups, the democratic process, and other important considerations of global life in 2020.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blasted the Trump administration over its Thursday rollback to protections for streams and other smaller bodies of water, saying that the new rule is an "outrageous assault" on clean water regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled its Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which leaves much environmental regulation to state and local authorities. It replaces an already-repealed rule implemented by the the Obama administration that expanded the types of waterways protected by federal law.
A coalition of environmental groups are publicly calling on automakers to drop their support for the Trump administration’s move to prevent California from setting its own fuel efficiency standards. The five organizations took out an advertisement in The Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press and The Sacramento Bee that reads: “Why are some automakers suing for more carbon pollution?” It was followed by an open letter asking automakers General Motors, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi to “immediately withdraw from litigation against existing clean car standards.” The letter was signed by leaders of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club and the Union of Concerned Scientists.