The White House AI R&D Strategy Offers a Good Start – Here’s How to Make It Better

Sarah Myers West is Managing Director of the AI Now Institute. The White House released its national research and development strategy for AI last week, the latest in a flurry of activity in the executive branch of the US government to rapidly address the need for AI governance. The strategic plan focuses on where there are gaps in existing research that need to be filled, and it should be read in tandem with other measures, such as: The White House Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, released last year;  The National Institutes of Science and Technology (NIST) Risk Management Framework;  The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) request for comment on algorithmic accountability; The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cloud computing RFI, which could illuminate the role of computational infrastructure in shaping AI; The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative, part of its ongoing work on AI and hiring; The Consumer Finance Protection Board’s (CFPB) forthcoming work on AI chatbots used by financial institutions; The Department of Education’s new report on AI and the future of teaching and learning; and more. The R&D strategy itself contains a number of measures that indicate that the government is listening to concerns raised by the research and civil society community around the broad impact of these technologies, foregrounding potential harms in the here and now over far-off concerns. This is welcome news.  But the Biden administration needs to go further: the document largely misses the role of industry…The White House AI R&D Strategy Offers a Good Start – Here’s How to Make It Better