July 18, 2019

In Search of Ideas: The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Wants You

By Robert O. Work and Eric Schmidt

Americans don’t want to grow old wondering what happened to their country’s place in the world. U.S. global leadership has fostered international institutions, strengthened human rights in international relations, and helped make what President Woodrow Wilson sought more than a century ago: a world “safe for democracy.” But Americans should not take those features of the global order for granted.

After a briefer-than-expected period of unchallenged power and two longer-than-expected unconventional wars, the United States once again finds itself facing state actors with the potential to match its power and ideologies and interests in conflict with its own. Whether or not that results in a new Cold War or a different type of peace remains to be seen. In either case, as with previous competitions, emerging technology will likely play a prominent role.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has emerged as one of the most important technologies for national security. America’s level of AI competence will affect almost every aspect of American life, from developing more effective ways to educate the people to changing the way we earn wages to defending against cyber-attacks and on the battlefield.

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which we co-chair, is an independent federal commission helping the United States government determine what actions to take to ensure America’s national security enterprise has the tools it needs to maintain U.S. global leadership. The commission includes four working groups and three special projects. The working groups focus on maintaining U.S. global leadership in AI research, sustaining global leadership in national security AI applications, preparing the national security workforce for an AI future, and ensuring international cooperation and competitiveness in AI. The three special projects address ethics, data, and public-private partnerships. We will produce two reports to Congress, both intended to elevate awareness and to inform better legislation.

Read the full article in War on the Rocks.

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