December 10, 2018

Congress Can Help the United States Lead in Artificial Intelligence

By Paul Scharre and Michael Horowitz

This week the U.S. Congress will hold hearings focusing on the Defense Department’s progress on artificial intelligence, a critical technology area. On the agenda is the new National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which Congress mandated in the most recent National Defense Authorization Act. Its members will be appointed by senior congressional leaders and agency heads and will develop recommendations for advancing the development of AI techniques to bolster U.S. national security. The commission could spur much-needed government attention and it should sketch out an ambitious agenda.

The United States is behind many other nations when it comes to crafting a national plan for AI. Last year, China released its “Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan,” with the explicit goal of becoming the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. Over a dozen other countries have also published national AI strategies. The AI revolution is global, and while the United States has a vibrant AI ecosystem, other nations do, too. Half of the top 10 AI start-ups in the world are American; the other half are Chinese. China is investing in research and development and STEM education, and recruiting top talent from Silicon Valley. Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, and SenseTime are in the top tier of tech companies using AI around the globe. Without action, the United States risks losing its decades-long technology edge in the civilian and military sectors. The White House is working on updating the national AI research and development plan from 2016, but Washington needs a comprehensive AI strategy for both the government and private sector.

Read the full article in Foreign Policy.

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