Aug 6, 2020 - Technology

U.S. should boost AI spending to compete with China, paper argues

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The U.S. must invest in research and development in artificial intelligence to stay ahead of China and other adversaries, argues a new paper penned by Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and two research groups, shared early with Axios.

Why it matters: Reps. Hurd and Kelly, along with the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Center for a New American Security, are pushing forward a bipartisan plan at a time of high tension with China. The U.S. and China compete on 5G development, artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies.


  • The papers suggest steps for policymakers to take for advancing responsible development of AI, building on work done under both the Trump and Obama administrations.
  • "The U.S. government is never going to be as coordinated as an authoritarian government, that's the beauty of our system," Hurd told Axios. "Part of this national plan is to put a structure in place that future Congresses can use."
  • The hope is to have AI-related legislation developed by the end of the summer, said Hurd.

Yes, but: Hurd is retiring at the end of this Congress, and legislation is unlikely to proceed before then. Still, the ideas could provide a blueprint on AI for the next Congress.

  • The coronavirus pandemic also makes prospects for legislation difficult, Kelly told Axios, but she and others will continue pressing after Hurd leaves Congress.

Context: Previous papers by the same legislators and groups include plans for workforce and national security.

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