White House reveals its next steps toward ‘responsible’ AI development

The White House has made responsible AI development a focus of this administration in recent months, releasing a Blueprint AI Bill of Rights, developing a risk management framework, committing $140 million to found seven new National Academies dedicated to AI research weighing in on how private enterprises are leveraging the technology. On Tuesday, the executive branch announced its next steps towards that goal including releasing an update to the National AI R&D Strategic Plan for the first time since 2019 as well as issuing a request for public input on critical AI issues. The Department of Education also dropped its hotly-anticipated report on the effects risks of AI for students.

The OSTP’s National AI R&D Strategic Plan, which guides the federal government’s investments in AI research, hadn’t been updated since the Trump Administration (when he gutted the OSTP staffing levels). The plan seeks to promote responsible innovation in the field that serves the public good without infringing on the public’s rights, safety democratic values, having done so until this point through eight core strategies. Tuesday’s update adds a ninth, establishing “a principled coordinated approach to international collaboration in AI research,” per the White House. 

“The federal government plays a critical role in ensuring that technologies like AI are developed responsibly, to serve the American people,” the OSTP argued in its release. “Federal investments over many decades have facilitated many key discoveries in AI innovations that power industry society today, federally funded research has sustained progress in AI throughout the field’s evolution.”

The OSTP also wants to hear the publics thoughts on both its new strategies the technology’s development in general. As such it is inviting “interested individuals organizations” to submit their comments to one or more of nearly 30 prompt questions, including “How can AI rapidly identify cyber vulnerabilities in existing critical infrastructure systems accelerate addressing them?” “How can Federal agencies use shared pools of resources, expertise, lessons learned to better leverage AI in government?” through the Federal eRulemaking Portal by 5:00 pm ET on July 7, 2023. Responses should be limited to 10 pages of 11-point font.

The Department of Education also released its report on the promises pitfalls of AI in schools on Tuesday, focusing on the how it impacts Learning, Teaching, Assessment, Research. Despite recent media hysteria about generative AIs like ChatGPT fomenting the destruction of higher education by helping students write their essays, the DoE noted that AI “can enable new forms of interaction between educators students, help educators address variability in learning, increase feedback loops, support educators.” 

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