Reps. Kelly & Hurd Partner with Bipartisan Policy Center to Strategize National AI Framework

Oct 31, 2019

by ASME.org

Representatives Robin Kelly (D-IL-02) and Will Hurd (R-TX-23) are partnering with the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to work on a strategy and national framework for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in government and American society more broadly. Rep. Kelly stated, “we are woefully underprepared for this technological revolution,” noting the imperative of “long-term U.S. competitiveness and security.”
 
At a BPC forum earlier this month focused on the future of AI, Rep. Hurd—who is not seeking reelection—stressed the concerted and centralized approach other countries are taking to fund and prioritize AI research and development. He argued that the prospect of the U.S. abdicating leadership in AI research, partnerships, and workforce development would have a devastating effect on the American economy and national security. China and other U.S. adversaries including Russia, for instance, continue to follow national plans for AI development to improve algorithms for surveillance, detention, and warfare capabilities—including algorithms that could launch airstrikes without human decision-making, for example.
 
These specific foreign efforts prioritize overarching political control and military might, whereas the initiative that Reps. Kelly, Hurd, and the BPC are pursuing aims to convene an array of policy experts and leadership from the public and private sectors and consumer advocacy to discuss complex AI challenges. To that end, BPC President Jason Grumet noted, “Congress can spur the development of AI while protecting individual privacy, avoiding bias, and promoting economic and social inclusion.” This juxtaposition will likely continue to frame AI development around the world, as different countries follow different methods of national prioritization.
 
Nevertheless, the U.S. federal government is undoubtedly focused on the development of AI. The Trump administration announced last month that the government would spend almost $1 billion in nondefense AI R&D in fiscal year 2020, according to a supplemental report to the President’s budget request. The administration has also directed federal support of and investment in advanced computing research in the private sector, national labs, and executive agencies. And two examples from a defense perspective: the Pentagon launched its AI strategy in February 2019, forming the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced it would invest $2 billion in AI programs over five years.
 
Continuing their partnership, Reps. Kelly and Hurd released a white paper in September 2018, “Rise of the Machines: Artificial Intelligence and its Growing Impact on the U.S. Policy,” which is available at: https://www.hsdl.org/?abstract&did=816362.