American Artificial Intelligence Strategy Offers Promising Start
Op-ed by Committee for Justice president Curt Levey published in The Hill:
With artificial intelligence emerging as an issue in the 2020 presidential race, as Bernie Sanders thought it important enough to include in his campaign announcement and entrepreneur Andrew Yang is making the issue the focal point of his campaign, the White House's announcement of an “American AI Initiative” this month could not have been more timely.
Recognizing that investment in AI is “critical to creating the industries of the future,” President Trump issued an executive order directing the departments and agencies of the executive branch to enhance America's leadership position in AI through a coordinated federal government strategy. The Initiative's greatest significance lies in it being a solid first step towards a national AI strategy, which should go a long way to address concerns that nations like China already have such a strategy.
The order contains several key components, the most important of which instructs departments and agencies to make AI a priority in their research and development missions, encompassing not just government-funded work in AI, but also the government’s own research and development. That is important because government is inherently slow to adopt new technology and is in need of the greater efficiency, productivity and innovation AI can provide. The order also directs agencies to prioritize educational funding and programs that help American workers and students learn relevant skills.
Finally, the order tells agencies to establish guidance for safe and trustworthy AI development and use, as well as to make their “data, models, and computing resources” more available to America’s AI researchers and industries. That last point may not sound very sexy but, as a former AI scientist, I can testify to the vital importance of both large data sets, which the federal government has a wealth of, and high-speed computing resources to AI's success...