U.S. Must Adopt National AI Strategy, New Report Warns

December 4, 2018

WASHINGTON — While the United States leads in developing and using artificial intelligence (AI), many other countries and regions, including China, France, and the United Kingdom, are putting in place robust AI initiatives that challenge America’s lead.

Without a robust and well-funded national AI strategy, the United States risks being left behind in the AI revolution. To bolster competitiveness, strengthen national security, and maximize the societal benefits of AI, a new report released today by the Center for Data Innovation articulates a U.S. AI strategy, laying out six overarching goals and 40 specific policy recommendations for Congress and the administration to support AI development and adoption.

“Succeeding in AI requires more than investments from leading companies. It requires a healthy ecosystem of AI companies, inputs such as skills and data, and organizations that are motivated and free to use AI,” said Joshua New, the Center’s senior policy analyst and author of the report. “Building a robust AI ecosystem will require the federal government to actively support the development and adoption of AI, which will be best done through a comprehensive national strategy.”

According to the report, the United States needs a national AI strategy to boost U.S. economic competitiveness, support U.S. defense capabilities, and address a number of market failures, including the provisioning of public goods, that will slow AI development and adoption.

The report offers six goals to serve as the framework of a comprehensive national AI strategy, each with corresponding policy recommendations to implement it:

  1. Support key AI organizational inputs, especially skills, data, and research
  2. Accelerate public-sector adoption of AI, including for national security
  3. Spur AI development and adoption in industry, including through sector-specific AI strategies
  4. Support digital free trade policies
  5. Foster innovation-friendly regulation
  6. Provide workers with better tools to manage AI-driven workforce transitions

“As the data economy of today evolves to the algorithmic economy of tomorrow, policymakers should ensure U.S. workers, businesses, and society overall are in the best position to benefit,” said New. “Government can’t sit on the sidelines. Absent a national strategy, U.S. firms developing AI will lose their advantage in global markets, and the U.S. will miss a significant opportunity to increase productivity, grow the economy, and harness the many societal benefits AI can bring.”

Read the report.