1 big thing: Still missing — a U.S. AI policy
U.S. policy in the race to dominate the world’s most advanced technologies remains chaotic, pushing ahead in some areas, while others languish.
Axios’ Kaveh Waddell reports: The global contest in artificial intelligence and quantum computing, for instance, is in its most crucial stages. But experts say the U.S. lacks China's focus on winning everything.
In a report published today, the leaders of the House Oversight and Reform IT subcommittee — Republican Will Hurd and Democrat Robin Kelly — urge the government to step it up:
"The United States cannot maintain its global leadership in AI absent political leadership from Congress and the Executive Branch."
But U.S. political leaders haven't moved with the urgency the situation requires, Hurd tells Axios. China’s rapid rise in AI should shock the U.S. into action, Hurd and Kelly write.
The pair lays out high stakes for failure. "Whoever masters AI will have an outsize role in this world," Hurd says. Their report offers four recommendations:
- Increase funding for R&D through agencies like the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), and NASA.
- Publish government data sets, a potential boon for training data-hungry AI.
- Develop standards for measuring the progress and dangers of AI.
- Plan more DARPA Grand Challenges, like the one that motivated much of the early work on autonomous driving.
Earlier this month, DARPA announced a $2 billion investment in research into more flexible and powerful AI. That’s progress, Hurd and Kelly write, as was a May summit on AI at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The bottom line: "There's not the level of interest and urgency and immediacy that we need from government right now," says Paul Scharre, director of the technology and national security program at the Center for a New American Security. "There is no national strategy."
- The executive branch needs to take the lead, Scharre says, especially in driving funding.
Go deeper: Read Kaveh's whole post.