As the US adjusts to President Joe Biden and his flurry of executive orders, the new administration's stance on artificial intelligence (AI) isn't exactly a key topic. But a number of new appointments directly relate to AI and could establish a roadmap for how the US regulates and uses the technology moving forward.
Now is perhaps the most important time for clear direction and momentum for AI, as a new report places the US in the global lead for development and use of the technology. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation conducted a study assessing AI using metrics like human talent, research activity, investment and commercial development. It found that the US is currently in the lead, followed by China and the European Union.
On the government front, Biden has made the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) a cabinet position, and appointed Eric Lander as director. Lander is a geneticist and founding director of the MIT-Harvard Broad Institute. The appointment points to a more scientific approach to AI research and development, while the Trump administration focused on AI development for military purposes.
Biden also appointed Alondra Nelson, a sociologist and professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, as deputy director of the OSTP. Nelson focuses on studying the societal impacts of technologies like AI and gene editing.
“When we provide inputs to the algorithm; when we program the device; when we design, test, and research; we are making human choices—choices that bring our social world to bear in a new and powerful way,” said Nelson after her appointment.
And in perhaps a direct reference to China's role in shaping the future of AI, new Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there is "an increasing divide between techno democracies and techno autocracies. Whether techno democracies or techno autocracies are the ones who get to define how tech is used…will go a long way toward shaping the next decades.”
For its part, China has placed a heavy emphasis on AI investment and development over the past few years. The country currently has 500 of the world's most powerful supercomputers, while the US only has 113.
“The United States and European Union need to pay attention to what China is doing and respond, because nations that lead in the development and use of AI will shape its future and significantly improve their economic competitiveness, while those that fall behind risk losing competitiveness in key industries,” said Daniel Castro, director of The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's data innovation center and lead author of its recent study.
The report also found that US research quality was higher than that of China and the European Union. It concluded that the US remains the world leader in designing chips for AI systems, but warned that work will be necessary to maintain that lead. The report suggests the US should boost support for AI research and deployment as well as step up efforts to develop AI talent domestically as well as to attract global talent.
To learn more about how AI is evolving and impacting government and commercial technology strategies, TMC is hosting its Future of Work Expo from June 22-25 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The event will examine how AI and deep learning are changing the future of work and reshaping the entire global technology landscape.
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