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FCC’s Approach to Artificial Intelligence for
Communications Networks and Consumers: Opportunities
and Challenges
Jared Carlson, Deputy Chief,
Office of International Affairs
Federal Communications Commission
United States of America
September 5, 2023
Note: This presentation and its contents are for informational purposes only; the Commission’s rules in part 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations and
the Commission’s previous reports and orders adopting those rules represent the binding rules and determinations of the Commission.
Overview
Brief Introduction of the FCC (regulatory & legal
framework)
The role of the FCC and its approach to AI
▪ FCC’s Workshop on AI: Takeaways
▪ FCC’s Notice of Inquiry (NOI)
▪ Robocalls and AI
2
Introduction to the FCC
The FCC is an independent U.S. government agency established by Congress with the Communications Act
of 1934.
◦ Independent of the Executive Branch (directly responsible to Congress, not the President).
◦ Clearly separated from regulated entities (the United States does not have any government-owned
telecommunications companies).
The FCC is a converged regulator (telecommunications and broadcasting) → regulates television, radio,
wireline, fixed and mobile wireless, satellite, and cable services in all 50 states plus U.S. territories.
◦ Mission: “To ensure that all Americans, without discrimination, have available a rapid, efficient,
nationwide and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable
charges.”
The FCC is both the policy maker and the regulator.
3
Leadership
▪ Directed by five Commissioners → appointed by the President
and confirmed by the Senate for staggered five-year terms.
▪ The President selects one of the Commissioners to serve as
Chair.
▪ Maximum of three Commissioners from the President’s
political party at any given time.
▪ Operates under the “Government in the Sunshine Act.”
4
FCC Strategic Goals 2022 - 2026
▪ Pursue a "100 Percent" Broadband Strategy
▪ Promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
▪ Empower Consumers
▪ Enhance Public Safety and National Security
▪ Advance U.S. Global Competitiveness
▪ Foster Operational Excellence
5
Regulatory
Principles &
Strategies
Goal: facilitate a regulatory environment in which
market-driven, industry-led innovation can thrive
(“virtuous cycle of innovation”).
Competition
Technology neutrality
Regulatory certainty
with flexibility
Clear spectrum
licensing rules:
• Auctions
• Secondary market/leasing
• License renewal
(presumption of renewal)
Transparency and light-
touch regulations:
• Stakeholder engagement
• Open policy development
and rulemakings
• Fact-based, data-driven
decision-making
6
Stakeholder Engagement
7
Solicit public
comment on a
broad range of
issues.
Regularly conduct
workshops, forums and
meetings with outside
parties.
Federal Advisory
Committees
provide advice and
recommendations
on various topics.
The Role of Advisory Committees
Advisory committees help ensure that federal officials have access to information and advice on topics of
interest.
▪ Played important role in shaping government policies from our country’s earliest days.
Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)
▪ Law passed In 1972
▪ Ensures that advice provided by advisory committees is objective and accessible to the public.
▪ Puts in place a process for establishing, operating, overseeing, and terminating advisory
committees.
▪ Today, an average of 1,000 advisory committees with more than 60,000 members advise the
President, the Executive Branch, and Independent Agencies on a broad range of issues.
Federal agencies sponsoring advisory committees must:
▪ Publish adequate advance notice of meetings in the Federal Register;
▪ Open advisory committee meetings to the public (with a few narrow exceptions); and
▪ Make records available to the public, including detailed minutes of each meeting.
8
Technological Advisory Council (TAC)
9
6G
AI and machine
learning
Emerging
technologies
Advanced
spectrum sharing
TAC
For the TAC on AI and Computing Working Group:
• Capture the promise and benefits of AI as an integral part of the
Nation’s Telecommunications ecosystem
• Examine approaches to promote best practices that lead to the safe
uses of AI and minimize common pitfalls
• Recognize the large investment in AI technologies by Industry and the
Federal Government
• Consider the momentum of the Basic and Applied Research
Community in maturing AI technologies, and the penetration in the
market of commercial services an applications that rely on AI,
including those offed (and used internally) by the Telecommunications
Sector.
• Consider impacts on the FCC, Network Operators and Service
Providers, Consumers, Industry, Commercial Enterprises, and
Government, the Nation’s Networks
10
“From my perch as the head of our Nation’s expert agency on
communications, I can’t help but be an optimist about the
future of AI.”
“Three reasons to be optimistic about AI in communications—
spectrum efficiency, network resiliency, and tools to protect
consumers.”
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel (July 2023)
The Role of the FCC and its Approach to AI
▪ The FCC’s role in AI policy is based on its current mandate to encourage innovation, while protecting the
ongoing functionality of the network (e.g., by promoting spectrum access). And to ensure consumer
protection, while providing tools to empower and protect consumers against abuse.
▪ The FCC is focusing on AI’s capabilities and potential to support spectrum efficiency, network resiliency,
and tools to protect consumers.
FCC’s recent actions on AI
▪ The FCC and the National Science Foundation co-hosted a half-day workshop on July 13 to discuss the
role of AI in telecom, and specifically what is the FCC’s role in this space to promote innovation and
adoption of AI tools in telecom, and what are the challenges the FCC should address.
▪ The FCC released a Notice or Inquiry that seeks input on leveraging new technologies to collect and
analyze data on non-Federal spectrum usage, including through AI and machine learning.
11
FCC Workshop on AI
The FCC and NSF co-hosted a
workshop entitled “The Opportunities
and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence
for Communications Networks and
Consumers” on Thursday, July 13.
The workshop brought together a
diverse array of stakeholders—
network operators and vendors;
leading academics; federal agencies;
and public-interest representatives
12
FCC Workshop on AI: Takeaways
The FCC’s technological Advisory Council Working Group has a group on AI and Computing (AIWG)
dedicated to studying AI and machine learning and has already begun to look at the impact of
these kind of developments.
The FCC’s Technological Advisory Council and the National Science Foundation half-day workshop
takeaways include:
▪ FCC is encouraging discussion to go beyond general AI transformation to address specific
telecom-related challenge, such as spectrum management, network reliability, robocalls
and inclusivity.
▪ FCC is increasingly focusing on AI’s capabilities and potential to incorporate next-
generation techniques and data-driven analytics into its spectrum management toolkit
(e.g., NOI).
▪ FCC is exploring responsible AI practices, sectoral rules, and the balance between hard
and soft law.
13
Advancing Understanding of Non-Federal
Spectrum Usage
▪ Commercial spectrum bands are growing more crowded by the day: increasing efficient use of
spectrum is key to advancing innovation.
▪ AI/ML can digest millions of measurements taken every minute to
▪ provide insights that help better understand network usage,
▪ support greater spectrum efficiency, and
▪ improve resiliency by making it possible to heal networks on their own.
▪ In the future, AI can help support new cognitive abilities so that wireless devices can manage
transmissions and avoid harmful interference on their own.
▪ Smarter radios using AI can work with each other without a central authority dictating the
best of use of spectrum in every environment.
14
Advancing Understanding of Non-Federal
Spectrum Usage – Notice of Inquiry
▪ In August 2023, the FCC adopted a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) that seeks input on leveraging new
data sources, methods, and technologies such as AI and machine learning in an increasingly
congested radiofrequency environment to collect and analyze data on non-Federal spectrum
usage.
▪ The NOI seeks information on three major factors that impact the collection and analysis of
spectrum usage data:
▪ The appropriate definition of “spectrum usage;”
▪ uniformity of band requirements and measurements; and
▪ data collection techniques
▪ FCC also seeks comment on associated challenges, including cost, band-specific-
considerations, and the need for uniform metrics and data collection requirements, as well as
next steps the Commission might take to further its inquiry.
15
Robocalls and AI
“AI has tremendous potential to expand and refine the analytics tools we
have to block unwanted robocalls and robotexts … AI could help restore
our trust in networks and enhance our ability to see fraudulent traffic
before it reaches you and stop it in its tracks.”
(Chairwoman Rosenworcel, July 2023)
Bad actors can now use artificial intelligence technology “to mimic
voices, convincing people, often the elderly, that their loved ones are in
distress…scammers can replicate a voice from just a short audio sample,
then use AI tools to hold a conversation in that voice, which “speaks”
whatever the imposter types.”
(Washington Post, May 2023)
16
Image by
TD: My Tech Decisions (2018)
Opportunities for Further Engagement
▪ FCC International Visitors Program (IVP), i.e., virtual/in-person briefings for
information exchange and best practice sharing among respective subject
matter experts on topics of mutual interest. See:
https://www.fcc.gov/general/international-visitors-program
▪ One-on-one side meetings on margins of international events
17
FOR FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS OR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION,
PLEASE CONTACT:
Jared.Carlson@fcc.gov
18
Thank you!
19

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Oportunidades y desafíos de la Inteligencia Artificial para las redes de comunicaciones y los consumidores

  • 1. FCC’s Approach to Artificial Intelligence for Communications Networks and Consumers: Opportunities and Challenges Jared Carlson, Deputy Chief, Office of International Affairs Federal Communications Commission United States of America September 5, 2023 Note: This presentation and its contents are for informational purposes only; the Commission’s rules in part 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations and the Commission’s previous reports and orders adopting those rules represent the binding rules and determinations of the Commission.
  • 2. Overview Brief Introduction of the FCC (regulatory & legal framework) The role of the FCC and its approach to AI ▪ FCC’s Workshop on AI: Takeaways ▪ FCC’s Notice of Inquiry (NOI) ▪ Robocalls and AI 2
  • 3. Introduction to the FCC The FCC is an independent U.S. government agency established by Congress with the Communications Act of 1934. ◦ Independent of the Executive Branch (directly responsible to Congress, not the President). ◦ Clearly separated from regulated entities (the United States does not have any government-owned telecommunications companies). The FCC is a converged regulator (telecommunications and broadcasting) → regulates television, radio, wireline, fixed and mobile wireless, satellite, and cable services in all 50 states plus U.S. territories. ◦ Mission: “To ensure that all Americans, without discrimination, have available a rapid, efficient, nationwide and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.” The FCC is both the policy maker and the regulator. 3
  • 4. Leadership ▪ Directed by five Commissioners → appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for staggered five-year terms. ▪ The President selects one of the Commissioners to serve as Chair. ▪ Maximum of three Commissioners from the President’s political party at any given time. ▪ Operates under the “Government in the Sunshine Act.” 4
  • 5. FCC Strategic Goals 2022 - 2026 ▪ Pursue a "100 Percent" Broadband Strategy ▪ Promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility ▪ Empower Consumers ▪ Enhance Public Safety and National Security ▪ Advance U.S. Global Competitiveness ▪ Foster Operational Excellence 5
  • 6. Regulatory Principles & Strategies Goal: facilitate a regulatory environment in which market-driven, industry-led innovation can thrive (“virtuous cycle of innovation”). Competition Technology neutrality Regulatory certainty with flexibility Clear spectrum licensing rules: • Auctions • Secondary market/leasing • License renewal (presumption of renewal) Transparency and light- touch regulations: • Stakeholder engagement • Open policy development and rulemakings • Fact-based, data-driven decision-making 6
  • 7. Stakeholder Engagement 7 Solicit public comment on a broad range of issues. Regularly conduct workshops, forums and meetings with outside parties. Federal Advisory Committees provide advice and recommendations on various topics.
  • 8. The Role of Advisory Committees Advisory committees help ensure that federal officials have access to information and advice on topics of interest. ▪ Played important role in shaping government policies from our country’s earliest days. Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) ▪ Law passed In 1972 ▪ Ensures that advice provided by advisory committees is objective and accessible to the public. ▪ Puts in place a process for establishing, operating, overseeing, and terminating advisory committees. ▪ Today, an average of 1,000 advisory committees with more than 60,000 members advise the President, the Executive Branch, and Independent Agencies on a broad range of issues. Federal agencies sponsoring advisory committees must: ▪ Publish adequate advance notice of meetings in the Federal Register; ▪ Open advisory committee meetings to the public (with a few narrow exceptions); and ▪ Make records available to the public, including detailed minutes of each meeting. 8
  • 9. Technological Advisory Council (TAC) 9 6G AI and machine learning Emerging technologies Advanced spectrum sharing TAC For the TAC on AI and Computing Working Group: • Capture the promise and benefits of AI as an integral part of the Nation’s Telecommunications ecosystem • Examine approaches to promote best practices that lead to the safe uses of AI and minimize common pitfalls • Recognize the large investment in AI technologies by Industry and the Federal Government • Consider the momentum of the Basic and Applied Research Community in maturing AI technologies, and the penetration in the market of commercial services an applications that rely on AI, including those offed (and used internally) by the Telecommunications Sector. • Consider impacts on the FCC, Network Operators and Service Providers, Consumers, Industry, Commercial Enterprises, and Government, the Nation’s Networks
  • 10. 10 “From my perch as the head of our Nation’s expert agency on communications, I can’t help but be an optimist about the future of AI.” “Three reasons to be optimistic about AI in communications— spectrum efficiency, network resiliency, and tools to protect consumers.” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel (July 2023)
  • 11. The Role of the FCC and its Approach to AI ▪ The FCC’s role in AI policy is based on its current mandate to encourage innovation, while protecting the ongoing functionality of the network (e.g., by promoting spectrum access). And to ensure consumer protection, while providing tools to empower and protect consumers against abuse. ▪ The FCC is focusing on AI’s capabilities and potential to support spectrum efficiency, network resiliency, and tools to protect consumers. FCC’s recent actions on AI ▪ The FCC and the National Science Foundation co-hosted a half-day workshop on July 13 to discuss the role of AI in telecom, and specifically what is the FCC’s role in this space to promote innovation and adoption of AI tools in telecom, and what are the challenges the FCC should address. ▪ The FCC released a Notice or Inquiry that seeks input on leveraging new technologies to collect and analyze data on non-Federal spectrum usage, including through AI and machine learning. 11
  • 12. FCC Workshop on AI The FCC and NSF co-hosted a workshop entitled “The Opportunities and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence for Communications Networks and Consumers” on Thursday, July 13. The workshop brought together a diverse array of stakeholders— network operators and vendors; leading academics; federal agencies; and public-interest representatives 12
  • 13. FCC Workshop on AI: Takeaways The FCC’s technological Advisory Council Working Group has a group on AI and Computing (AIWG) dedicated to studying AI and machine learning and has already begun to look at the impact of these kind of developments. The FCC’s Technological Advisory Council and the National Science Foundation half-day workshop takeaways include: ▪ FCC is encouraging discussion to go beyond general AI transformation to address specific telecom-related challenge, such as spectrum management, network reliability, robocalls and inclusivity. ▪ FCC is increasingly focusing on AI’s capabilities and potential to incorporate next- generation techniques and data-driven analytics into its spectrum management toolkit (e.g., NOI). ▪ FCC is exploring responsible AI practices, sectoral rules, and the balance between hard and soft law. 13
  • 14. Advancing Understanding of Non-Federal Spectrum Usage ▪ Commercial spectrum bands are growing more crowded by the day: increasing efficient use of spectrum is key to advancing innovation. ▪ AI/ML can digest millions of measurements taken every minute to ▪ provide insights that help better understand network usage, ▪ support greater spectrum efficiency, and ▪ improve resiliency by making it possible to heal networks on their own. ▪ In the future, AI can help support new cognitive abilities so that wireless devices can manage transmissions and avoid harmful interference on their own. ▪ Smarter radios using AI can work with each other without a central authority dictating the best of use of spectrum in every environment. 14
  • 15. Advancing Understanding of Non-Federal Spectrum Usage – Notice of Inquiry ▪ In August 2023, the FCC adopted a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) that seeks input on leveraging new data sources, methods, and technologies such as AI and machine learning in an increasingly congested radiofrequency environment to collect and analyze data on non-Federal spectrum usage. ▪ The NOI seeks information on three major factors that impact the collection and analysis of spectrum usage data: ▪ The appropriate definition of “spectrum usage;” ▪ uniformity of band requirements and measurements; and ▪ data collection techniques ▪ FCC also seeks comment on associated challenges, including cost, band-specific- considerations, and the need for uniform metrics and data collection requirements, as well as next steps the Commission might take to further its inquiry. 15
  • 16. Robocalls and AI “AI has tremendous potential to expand and refine the analytics tools we have to block unwanted robocalls and robotexts … AI could help restore our trust in networks and enhance our ability to see fraudulent traffic before it reaches you and stop it in its tracks.” (Chairwoman Rosenworcel, July 2023) Bad actors can now use artificial intelligence technology “to mimic voices, convincing people, often the elderly, that their loved ones are in distress…scammers can replicate a voice from just a short audio sample, then use AI tools to hold a conversation in that voice, which “speaks” whatever the imposter types.” (Washington Post, May 2023) 16 Image by TD: My Tech Decisions (2018)
  • 17. Opportunities for Further Engagement ▪ FCC International Visitors Program (IVP), i.e., virtual/in-person briefings for information exchange and best practice sharing among respective subject matter experts on topics of mutual interest. See: https://www.fcc.gov/general/international-visitors-program ▪ One-on-one side meetings on margins of international events 17
  • 18. FOR FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS OR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Jared.Carlson@fcc.gov 18