Technocrat | December 7, 2018: Al Is Here to Stay

Last week the nation bid farewell to the 41st U.S. president, George H.W. Bush, who left a legacy beyond his presidency. During his time in the White House, Bush was responsible for several IT reforms by which the government still operates.

Driverless Cars Stall in Congress as Trial Lawyers Drop Support

A group representing trial lawyers is opposing legislation on self-driving vehicles after backing one section of the bill earlier this week, saying changes to other areas of the draft bill would harm consumer rights. The American Association for Justice said Monday it could support key arbitration and preemption language in one section of the AV START (S. 1885) bill, which creates the first federal framework for self-driving technology.

Trump’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy Arrives This Spring

The Trump administration will release a national strategy for artificial intelligence in the spring of 2019, according to a senior White House official. The strategy will focus on setting priorities for investment in AI-related research and development, preparing the U.S. workforce for the economic opportunities and challenges posed by AI, and identifying ways to preserve the U.S.’s technological advantage, said Lynn Parker, assistant director of artificial intelligence at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), at a Dec. 4 conference.

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Campaign Cash Follows GOP Senator Who May Be Drug-Price Firewall

Pharmaceutical industry political action committees gave more to John Barrasso than to any other senator in the recent election, even though his committee assignments won’t put him in a particularly good place to drive health policy. But Barrasso (R-Wyo.) will be the third-highest ranking senator, Republican Conference chairman, in January and those donations could end up paying off for drug companies in the new Congress.

(Bloomberg) — 
The Pentagon says it has started a year-long phase of combat testing for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet after a 15-month delay caused by an extension in flight testing, software glitches and delays, and quality issues.

  • Completion of tests planned for late next summer would be a major step toward full production of the fighter jet
    • “Start of formal operational testing is a milestone more than 18 years in the making,” Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 Program executive officer, says in an email statement
  • By law, F-35 must undergo full combat testing to demonstrate that it’s “operationally effective and suitable” against the most sophisticated aviation and air defense threats before Pentagon can buy the bulk of a planned 2,456 aircraft
  • NOTE: More than 320 F-35s are already operating from 15 bases worldwide as Pentagon and Lockheed continue to wrestle with resolving more than 900 deficiencies, including flaws in the plane’s complex software
    • Successful test would result in first full-rate production contract of as many as 168 jets, up from 141 in a just-completed award
  • Earlier: Lockheed’s F-35 Wins Pentagon Approval for Full Combat Testing

Trump Team Back to Drawing Board on Health Care After Midterms

The Trump administration, undeterred by the Republicans’ loss of their House majority in the midterm elections, wants to resume chipping away at Obamacare in the coming year.

Key Democrats Are Selling Medicare Buy-in Over Medicare for All

Before they consider giving Medicare to all Americans, an influential crop of Democrats will push to let some buy into the public health insurance for seniors. The push to create what is known as a Medicare buy-in program is slated to come from Democrats in both the House and Senate with seats on key panels early in the year.