US national AI strategy rethink slated for spring 2019

By on 11/12/2018 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Lynne Parker, assistant director of artificial intelligence in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The US government is planning to update its artificial intelligence (AI) research and development strategy in spring 2019, setting out ways of measuring progress against its goals.

Lynne Parker, assistant director of artificial intelligence in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said there would soon be an updated version of the existing AI plan, which was published in 2016 under the Obama administration. Parker co-chaired the task force responsible for producing the original strategy.

According to reports by FCW magazine, Parker said last week: “Hopefully in early spring you will be seeing an updated version of that plan – the R&D strategic plan – as well as the process that we will be using at the federal level for tracking our progress in these investments.

“It’s one thing to say ‘This is our plan.’ It’s another to show that you’re actually making progress on that plan.”

They’re catching up

Parker was attending an event hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation to mark the release of a new report from the Center for Data Innovation: ‘Why the United States needs a national artificial intelligence strategy and what it should look like’.

In the report, author Joshua New, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation, said that while the US is currently the global leader in developing and using AI, it may hold that position for much longer.

Pointing to other countries such as China, France, Canada and the UK, which are all pushing forward with AI technology, New writes that the US “lacks a comprehensive strategy to proactively spur the development and adoption of AI.”

Six point plan

The report calls for a national strategy to “bolster US competitiveness, strengthen national security and maximise the societal benefits that the country could derive from AI.”

New outlines six overarching goals that, he says, the government should focus on: supporting key AI organisational inputs; accelerating public sector adoption of AI (including for national security); spurring AI development and adoption in industry; supporting digital free trade policies; fostering innovation-friendly regulation; and providing workers with better tools to manage AI-driven workforce transitions.

He goes onto make 40 separate recommendations on what a national strategy should look like, and how the government can overcome challenges such as a shortage of skilled workers.

Work together to stay ahead

While New argues that the ultimate goal of a national strategy is for the US to maintain its position as a global leader in the development and use of AI, he also advocates international cooperation.

“The United States does not need to be the only global leader in AI to benefit from the technology – indeed international collaboration on AI can be highly beneficial.For example, international collaboration can greatly benefit academic research,data sharing, and the use of AI to solve pressing global challenges,” he says.

About Natalie Leal

Natalie is a freelance journalist whose work has been published by The Sun Online, The Guardian, Novara Media, Positive News, and Welfare Weekly, among others. She also writes reports and case studies on global business trends for behavioural insights agency, Canvas8. Prior to working as a journalist Natalie worked for the public sector in social services for several years. She switched careers in 2013 after winning a fully funded NCTJ in a national writing competition. She holds a Masters degree in social anthropology from Sussex University where she specialised in processes of social change and international conflict and reconciliation processes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *