Industry Wants More Detail on AI R&D Plan

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Industry partners would like more clarity and more Federal support of artificial intelligence (AI) as part of the upcoming update to the 2016 National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan. This request came in the recently released responses to the request for information for the update.

While the plan released in 2016 has helped guide Federal policy through seven strategic aims with broad goals, industry feedback showed an appetite for more detail on what the Federal government would like to see out of AI.

“The current strategic plan offers a broad statement on areas of interest, but does not delineate national priorities for research and development on specific challenges with, and applications of, AI,” said Amazon Web Services (AWS) in its response.

AWS’s comments also called for more clarity on enabling technologies. “The strategic plan could be improved by adding a clear vision and direction on investment into key enablers of Al/ML research and development in government,” the response noted.

“We encourage the administration to focus on defining goals for investments made in AI, and in doing so, consider both the value and capabilities of AI,” said Accenture. Accenture’s comments also mention enabling technologies, highlighting 5G, quantum computing, and biocomputing as areas that need to be aligned with the AI strategy.

“Working together we can identify and prioritize issues of societal importance as AI evolves, enable sharing of best practices and motivate further research and development of solutions as new issues emerge,” said Microsoft. “This would require that AI technology development, which includes all of the above elements, be considered an integral part of any AI policy development process.”

The importance of working together was a major theme in industry comments as well.

“To be a true national R&D plan and, more importantly, to better meet the nation’s strategic goals for AI, non-government investments and activities must also be integrated into the strategy,” said MITRE in its comments. However, MITRE noted the anticipated difficulties of getting the private sector to align with government priorities.

“We cannot emphasize enough the rapid development and adoptions happening in the commercial space, and the need for consistent dialogues between the government and the private sector to inform research priorities, from both technical and social impact perspectives,” said the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). ITI’s response called for more research and development funding, more ways to incorporate private sector participation, and sustained engagement with industry in developing voluntary standards.

“U.S. [government] intervention and funding is needed to push through the private/public national AI agenda. HPE believes a robust national framework will be required to integrate vast resources and set priorities for our country to maintain its leadership position and for AI to develop and thrive,” said HPE.

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