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  • Op-ed published in The Hill

Congress Can Bring the Government into the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Dome of Capitol building. Photo: Greg Nash.

The reintroduction of the Artificial Intelligence in Government Act this month is a much needed response to concerns that the United States is lagging behind both foreign governments and American industry in reaping the promise and perils of artificial intelligence. Sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators, the bill promotes the adoption of artificial intelligence in the federal government, while addressing the potential negative consequences. A companion bill was introduced in the House.

Central to the bill is the creation of an Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence within the General Services Administration, which will provide the technical expertise, research, and advice to federal agencies on the acquisition and use of artificial intelligence technology, including all of the accompanying “economic, policy, legal, and ethical challenges and implications.” A key part of its mission is to direct and assist the agencies in developing and maintaining governance plans for their use of artificial intelligence. Those plans are intended to promote the innovative use of artificial intelligence for the public benefit, while upholding “civil liberties, privacy, and civil rights” and identifying, assessing, and mitigating any “negative unintended consequences” including discrimination and more.

The bill also directs the Office of Personnel Management to identify the key skills necessary for related positions in the government and for the General Services Administration chief to establish an advisory board of agency designees and representatives of outside entities to advise on the issues facing the Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence. The bill is important precisely because American leadership in this area is vital to our economic success and national security. Like the executive order on artificial intelligence signed by President Trump, the bill is a necessary part of developing a national artificial intelligence strategy and addressing concerns that countries like China already have such a strategy in place...


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