Resolution to Overturn FCC Net Neutrality Vote Gains More Support

Today’s topics include Congress moving to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality vote; BlackBerry Jarvis scanning for flaws in autonomous car software; Google deploying three undersea cables for global cloud infrastructure expansion; and a Microsoft AI model surpassing humans in reading comprehension.

After the Federal Communications Commission voted in December to undo the 2015 reclassification of internet services to Title II, a Republican lawmaker has joined the ranks of senators who plan to vote in favor of the Congressional Review Act, which is a resolution overturning that action.

All 47 Democratic senators and both independent members are supporting the resolution, and Republican Susan Collins of Maine became the 50th senator to announce her support. If one more Republican joins the effort to raise the tally to 51, then the Senate can send its resolution to the House of Representatives. For the Congressional Review Act to take effect, the House must pass it, and the president must sign it.

Meanwhile, 21 states and the District of Columbia have filed a suit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia asking the court to review the FCC order, stating that the FCC action violates the Constitution and the Communications Act, and is in conflict with other requirements.

BlackBerry is jumping into the autonomous vehicle marketplace with a new cyber-security application called Jarvis that aims to tighten security around the complex computing code that controls driverless vehicles.

BlackBerry Jarvis is a "cloud-based, static binary code scanning" application that automakers can use to quickly and deeply scan and evaluate the voluminous and critical software code used in autonomous vehicles, increasing the safety and reliability of their still-in-development vehicles.

Jarvis cuts such scanning from 30 days down to about seven minutes, and will also be able to quickly provide "actionable insights" to allow automakers to correct defective code. Jarvis can be used to evaluate the hundreds of software applications that are used in autonomous vehicles, according to BlackBerry.

Google will commission three new undersea cables in 2019 in a substantial expansion of its global infrastructure. One of the cables, dubbed Curie, will be entirely Google owned and will connect Los Angeles to Chile. It will be the first intercontinental cable built entirely by a non-telecom company and will also be the first undersea cable to land in Chile in nearly two decades.

The other two cables are owned by consortiums, with Google as a member. Google is working with Facebook, Aqua Comms and Bulk Infrastructure to deploy Havfrue, which will directly link the U.S. to Ireland and Denmark.

HK-G, or the Hong Kong-Guam cable system, is the third new cable, and will increase Google's network capacity in the Hong Kong region and deliver better performance and response times between Australia and major hubs in Asia.

A new artificial intelligence model submitted by Microsoft Research Asia has crossed a significant AI threshold, surpassing humans in reading comprehension.

The model sits atop the SQuAD leaderboard with a score of 82.650 on the Exact Match portion of the benchmark. SQuAD, short for Stanford Question Answering Dataset, is a machine reading comprehension dataset containing 100,000 question-and-answer pairs pertaining to a set of over 500 Wikipedia articles used to determine how well AI systems interpret information and answer questions based on that information. An Exact Match score of 82.304 denotes a human's ability to answer the same questions.

Microsoft envisions AI systems that can quickly parse information contained in documents and books, providing users with relevant information when they need it. They also see a role for machine reading comprehension in the workplace, particularly for professionals like doctors and lawyers, where the stakes are high, giving them more time to “focus on treating patients or formulating legal opinions."