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AP / Susan Walsh

Acting FTC Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen said the agency hopes to take a closer look at artificial intelligence "because it has a consumer protection element to it but also has a competition element to it."Why it matters: In a split from the Obama years, the federal government in the Trump era has done very little to look at the policy questions posed by AI. That's starting to change — at a time when Silicon Valley is pouring more money than ever into the technologies.The bigger picture: Ohlhausen acknowledged there's promise in using artificial intelligence to process massive amounts of data. "They may say that you're at risk for cancer you didn't realize you were at risk for, or here's a product that would suit you really, really well," she said. "But it also could be used to harm consumers."Ohlhausen argued that the FTC — which focuses on whether the consumer has been harmed — is equipped to address these challenges.On a related note: The regulator was also asked about whether she would continue the efforts of the Obama administration to look at how algorithms can be biased. "We do enforce laws that are to protect consumers from discrimination, and I think that's appropriate for us to continue to think about and to continue to be vigilant for," she said.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

8 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.