Congress has just passed the National AI (Artificial Intelligence) Research Task Force Act, which creates a group of government, academic and industry experts charged with planning, creating, and funding a national AI research platform. This differs from the current approach of everyone essentially working on their own with whatever resources they can get together (OK, I'm oversimplifying and over dramatizing for effect, but hopefully you get the point).
While the quotes in this announcement focus on not letting China take the lead in AI research from the U.S., I think the value is in the results, not the competition. The fact all these great resources are coming together holds the promise that we will start to develop tools and capabilities that'll make a HUGE difference in public policy.
And, perhaps most importantly, that we'll do so much more quickly than if everyone works on their own. We have such significant challenges (a pandemic, economic uncertainty, climate change, social unrest, income and wealth disparity, et al), and so many of these issues are interrelated to each other, it seems criminal to me that we aren't marshaling ALL our resources to analyze and deal with them. This particular solution still has a ways to prove out, but at least it strikes me as a promising step in the right direction.
For my state and local government colleagues, we need to keep track of this and figure out how we can get engaged with this effort to gain benefit as the time is appropriate.
“If realized, this infrastructure would democratize AI research and development outside of elite universities and big technology companies and further enable the application of AI approaches across scientific fields and disciplines, unlocking breakthroughs that will drive growth in our economy and strengthen national security.”