Emerging Tech Development & Consulting: Artificial Intelligence. Advanced Analytics. Machine Learning. Big Data. Cloud
Artificial intelligence is perhaps the only technology that, without exaggeration, can be described as a "game-changer." From unlocking the natural world's mysteries to turning everyday objects like drones into smart weapons, artificial intelligence solutions grant enormous power to countries and companies that control and use them. And it seems only natural that the newly elected President of the United States is seeking to cement America's position as the world's leading AI superpower.
In this article, we'll investigate the four major areas where Biden's national AI strategy applies and how the new policies will affect the governmental structures, local businesses, and ordinary Americans.
"Continued American leadership in AI is of paramount importance to maintaining the economic and national security of the United States and to shaping the global evolution of AI in a manner consistent with our Nation's values, policies, and priorities." President Donald J. Trump, February 11, 2019
Although the Trump administration launched the first-ever national AI strategy a few years earlier, it was not until Joe Biden took office that federal AI spending reached a historic high. Through 2021, Washington could invest $6 billion into AI-related R&D projects and initiatives.
The country's renewed interest in artificial intelligence is largely ignited by Biden's plan to challenge China and its views on AI usage.
In the spring of 2022, the National Artificial Intelligence Research Task Force is set to present an interim report highlighting the national artificial intelligence strategy and implementation plan, with the full report expected later that year. Experts believe that the US AI strategy will cover complex scientific, economic, social, and security issues of artificial intelligence and the associated technologies, such as data storage and processing platforms.
A 2020 AI survey conducted by RELX indicates that 82% of Americans "are somewhat or very concerned" about other countries being more advanced in AI than the United States. And there's no smoke without fire.Although the United States is still leading the artificial intelligence race, China boasts superior monitoring and surveillance technologies, which are often used to suppress its citizens and control other countries' information flows.Instead of strengthening authoritarianism, US companies and governmental agencies are focused on the commercial applications of artificial intelligence. Simply put, America would rather have advanced self-driving vehicles than an AI-powered version of Orwell's Big Brother. And Biden's national AI strategy will most likely become a counterpoint to how China believes the technology should be used.
Several steps have already been taken in this direction.
The US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), an independent organization established in 2018 to spur artificial intelligence development in the country, urges the government to form strategic partnerships with private companies and fellow democracies. In addition, NSCAI believes the new administration needs to allot $40 billion to further expand and democratize R&D activities in the AI field.
The US government is also looking to establish a Technology Competitiveness Council to create national strategies for seven emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence. In particular, US officials are interested in leveraging AI to prevent the malicious use of biotechnology, including genomic weapons. In light of Biden's decision to order a new investigation into the origins of COVID-19 — some theories suggest that the virus was created in a laboratory and released through an accidental leak — the country's priorities do not come as a surprise.
Another issue to be addressed by the national artificial intelligence strategy is, undoubtedly, the aggravating shortage of AI talent. Following a temporary slump in 2020, the demand for skilled data scientists, AI/ML engineers, and artificial intelligence consultants is again rising.
According to ZDNet, 39% of companies cite a lack of technical expertise as the primary reason for not using artificial intelligence, while those who successfully adopted AI are seeing "the most acute shortages of talent." Additionally, limited knowledge of artificial intelligence and the underlying technologies prevents 53% of enterprises from deploying AI solutions company-wide.
Given that AI skills shortage is a daunting problem in most developed countries, the US government will need to build an entirely new artificial intelligence talent pipeline by improving STEM education and hiring highly skilled immigrants.
Private companies are gearing up for the AI revolution too. According to the RELX study cited above, 75% of enterprises now offer some kind of AI training (up from 46% five years ago). Greater availability of artificial intelligence education programs will ultimately help prepare the workforce for AI system integration across all industries and economic sectors.
Artificial intelligence systems — especially smart applications running on devices rather than in the cloud — require powerful chips. Unfortunately, for decades, the lion's share of computer chips have been manufactured in Taiwan and mainland China, which led to a severe semiconductor shortage in 2020. And we're dealing with its consequences to that day.
What initially appeared to be a mere delay in supplies as chip production came to a halt amid the pandemic evolved into a massive crisis, affecting 169 (!) industries in some way. In particular, the crisis cost the automotive industry $110 billion. At the same time, consumer electronics juggernauts like Apple and Samsung had to postpone the launches of new products or failed to fulfill contractual agreements.As part of the national artificial intelligence strategy, the government is looking to bring chip manufacturing back and reduce the country's reliance on hardware companies located in Asia.
President Biden requested a whopping $442 million budget for strategic manufacturing programs, including $150 million for two newly established manufacturing units whose sole purpose will be producing chips for industrial equipment, consumer electronics, and other devices with AI capabilities. All of this could help the United States mitigate the aftermath of the ongoing chip shortage crisis caused by the growing shift to online work, education, and entertainment. Meanwhile, a report from NSCAI indicates that $35 billion is needed to give the country's microchip industry a second wind
Artificial intelligence has emerged as a double-edged sword for the government and businesses alike. In addition to helping fight cybercrime and improve safety in public places, the technology underlies cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns targeting the US institutions and critical infrastructure facilities, including water systems and power grids.
Ultimately, that's another reason why the Biden administration is hoping to lure chip manufacturers back. As the United States and China are lingering on the edge of a cold war, it is essential to prevent the worst-case scenario where semiconductor supply chains could be disrupted indefinitely, sending the US governmental and military organizations and businesses across various verticals into a freefall.
The US congressmen are also pressing the new administration to enforce the nation's security mechanisms, laws, and infrastructure, citing recent ransomware and adversarial attacks as a primary example of a rising threat to operational technology. As of 2021, the bills regulating the use of artificial intelligence have been introduced in at least 16 states.
When we talk about artificial intelligence and its applications in business, we think about productivity, cost optimization, and gaining a competitive advantage over our rivals. Similarly, the government needs a comprehensive AI strategy to strengthen America’s geopolitical position and national welfare.In the not-so-distant future, President Biden's ambitious plan could yield impressive results,leading to a 37% GDP growth by 2030.
Additionally, the nation-wide adoption of artificial intelligence will favorably impact:
The US society might not fully understand AI's impact on the country's economy, security, and welfare in the coming years — and what the government's plans regarding artificial intelligence really are. To fill in the knowledge gaps, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has recently launched the new version of AI.gov. This website provides a wealth of information about the AI-related laws, strategic projects, and steps the federal government is taking to secure America's dominance in the artificial intelligence field.
If your company is having a hard time developing your own AI strategy, please contact ITRex team! Together, you'll build a smarter, safer, and better future!
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