AI Front & Center at White House

As technology and Artificial Intelligence reach ubiquity in everyday life, businesses and governments around the world are looking for ways to make these services increasingly beneficial to consumers.

On September 9, 2019, the Trump Administration hosted The Summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Government, an event that featured more than 175 experts from government, academia, and the private sector. The purpose of the event was to identify ways in which the federal government can utilize AI to increase efficiency in its own services.

The Trump Administration has consistently taken steps to make AI a priority, most significantly by establishing the American AI Initiative in February 2019. The initiative “directs Federal agencies to pursue multiple pillars to advance AI, with important emphases in areas of AI research and development, data and computation resources, technical standards and governance, education and workforce, international engagement, and protecting our AI advantage.” 

Conventional wisdom has long maintained that the private sector is more efficient than the federal government when it comes to managing costs and administering bureaucracy. There is no better example than the Obama Administration’s decision to spend $2 billion creating a website that did not even function. If the federal government plans to make AI a key component of its operational infrastructure in the near future, it should do so with the assistance of the private sector.

At the same time, private citizens as well as elected officials across the country have valid concerns about the rapid growth of AI and its potential to be used in an unethical manner by tech companies. Consumers are justifiably worried about their privacy being invaded when they attempt to use basic internet services, which many people have to do every day at work. Despite mounting evidence that automation will have a beneficial effect on the economy, millions of workers are worried about losing their job to a machine. In sectors like agriculture and manufacturing, hundreds of thousands of jobs have already been lost to machines over the past few decades. 

AI is a unique industry with the potential to substantially disrupt both the U.S. and global economies. Therefore, the federal government should work with the private sector to come up with solutions that benefit the American people and not just the largest corporations. The Trump Administration has already made significant strides in making sure AI gets the attention it needs from the Federal Government. Hopefully, the trend will continue and the process by which it does will involve a light touch from the government and be transparent to the American people.

Author: Henry Rademacher

Photo Credit: Tom Lohdan