White House Creates AI Committee, Favors Light Regs, Education

(Illustration: Futuristech)

The White House said on Thursday that it will create a new artificial intelligence (AI) advisory committee–dubbed the Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence–that will advise the White House on AI research and development efforts in government and industry.

The new committee, according to numerous reports, will operate within the existing National Science and Technology Council, which coordinates science and technology policy across the Federal R&D enterprise.

Creation of the AI committee was the biggest news to emerge from Thursday’s White House AI “summit” meeting.

In addition to issuing broad statements of support for the continued development of AI to benefit U.S. economic development and national security, the White House said it looks forward to “continued engagement” on the issue with the private sector, government agencies, and academia. It also said the Trump administration continues to designate AI an “R&D priority.”

“Our free market approach to scientific discovery harnesses the combined strengths of government, industry, and academia, and uniquely positions us to leverage this technology or the betterment of our great nation,” said Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the President for technology policy, in a statement.

The meeting included more than 100 people from business and academia, and officials from the National Science Foundation, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Labor, Transportation, and Treasury.

On the policy front, the White House said participants at the meeting discussed ways to remove regulatory barriers to AI development. “Overly burdensome regulations do not stop innovation–they just move it overseas,” the White House said.

In a separate statement, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who reportedly attended Thursday’s White House meeting, called for establishment of a “national strategy” for AI to “provide the necessary guideposts that enable industry and academia to innovate.”

He said recommendations issued by the since-disbanded U.S. Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Taskforce would be a good starting point for a “definitive” U.S. national strategy on AI. Those recommendations, issued in 2016, included items on safety, security, standards, and workforce implications.

“This is not a call for a swarm of new laws and regulations,” Krzanich said. “Rather, a U.S. national strategy can provide the structure for researchers and industry to follow as they develop artificial intelligence. Such direction provides operating certainty that lessens risk.”

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