Executive Order Will Help Ensure U.S. Leadership in AI

February 11, 2019

WASHINGTON—The Center for Data Innovation today welcomed the White House executive order launching the American AI Initiative. The Center issued the following statement from its director, Daniel Castro:

Ensuring American leadership in artificial intelligence is critical for U.S. competitiveness. Accelerating the development and adoption of AI holds the potential to increase productivity, grow the economy, and harness the many societal benefits the technology can bring. The administration’s initiative will prioritize AI research and training programs and boost auxiliary infrastructure such as data and other inputs.

Further, the initiative will help U.S. firms maintain their global advantage. While the U.S. currently leads in AI, China is pushing to dominate in AI. The administration’s initiative will help the United States keep pace with China’s progress.

However, if the administration wants its AI initiative to be transformative, it will need to do more than reprogram existing funds for AI research, skill development, and infrastructure development. Among these additional steps, it should ask Congress for significant funding increases to expand these research efforts; it should implement light-touch regulation for AI, and resist calls to implement roadblocks or speed bumps for this technology, including export restrictions; it should rapidly expand adoption of AI within government, and it should implement comprehensive reforms to the nation’s workforce training and adjustment policies.

The Center released a report in December articulating an AI strategy for the United States, laying out six overarching goals and 40 specific policy recommendations for Congress and the administration to support AI development and adoption.