Artificial intelligence holds tremendous promise to benefit nearly all aspects of society, including the economy, healthcare, security, the law, transportation, industry, even technology itself. To accelerate AI development across multiple disciplines, on Feb. 11, 2019, the President signed Executive Order 13859, Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence. This order launched the American AI Initiative, a concerted effort to promote and protect AI technology and innovation in the United States.
The Initiative directed a whole-of-government strategy in collaboration and engagement with the private sector, academia, general public and like-minded international partners. Among other actions, key directives in the Initiative call for Federal agencies to prioritize AI research and development (R&D) investments, enhance access to high-quality cyberinfrastructure and data, ensure that the Nation leads in the development of technical standards for AI, and provide education and training opportunities to prepare the American workforce for the new era of AI.
Building on its initial successful implementation and its promise to drive profound economic impact and quality-of-life improvements worldwide, the Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence of the National Science & Technology Council has updated the National AI R&D Plan, according to the strategy update.
The 2019 Update to the National AI R&D Strategic Plan is, by design, solely concerned with addressing the R&D priorities associated with advancing AI technologies. It does not describe or recommend policy or regulatory actions related to the governance or deployment of AI, although AI R&D will certainly inform the development of reasonable policy and regulatory frameworks in the future.
The National AI R&D Strategic Plan: 2019 Update establishes a set of objectives for federally funded AI research, identifying the following eight strategic priorities:
Strategy 1: Make long-term investments in AI research. Prioritize investments in the next generation of AI that will drive discovery and insight and enable the United States to remain a world leader in AI.
Strategy 2: Develop effective methods for human-AI collaboration. Increase understanding of how to create AI systems that effectively complement and augment human capabilities.
Strategy 3: Understand and address the ethical, legal, and societal implications of AI. Research AI systems that incorporate ethical, legal, and societal concerns through technical mechanisms.
Strategy 4: Ensure the safety and security of AI systems. Advance knowledge of how to design AI systems that are reliable, dependable, safe, and trustworthy.
Strategy 5: Develop shared public datasets and environments for AI training and testing. Develop and enable access to high-quality datasets and environments, as well as to testing and training resources.
Strategy 6: Measure and evaluate AI technologies through standards and benchmarks. Develop a broad spectrum of evaluative techniques for AI, including technical standards and benchmarks.
Strategy 7: Better understand the national AI R&D workforce needs. Improve opportunities for R&D workforce development to strategically foster an AI-ready workforce.
Strategy 8: Expand public-private partnerships to accelerate advances in AI. Promote opportunities for sustained investment in AI R&D and for transitioning advances into practical capabilities, in collaboration with academia, industry, international partners, and other non-Federal entities.