On May 23, 2023, the White House announced that it took the following steps to further advance responsible Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) practices in the U.S.:
- the Office of Science and Technology Policy (“OSTP”) released an updated strategic plan that focuses on federal investments in AI research and development (“R&D”);
- OSTP issued a new request for information (“RFI”) on critical AI issues; and
- the Department of Education issued a new report on risks and opportunities related to AI in education.
These announcements build on other recent actions by the Administration in connection with AI, such as the announcement earlier this month regarding new National Science Foundation funding for AI research institutions and meetings with AI providers.
This post briefly summarizes the actions taken in the White House’s most recent announcement.
Updated OSTP Strategic Plan
The updated OSTP strategic plan defines major research challenges in AI to coordinate and focus federal R&D investments. The plan aims to ensure continued U.S. leadership in the development and use of trustworthy AI systems, prepare the current and future U.S. workforce for the integration of AI systems across all sectors, and coordinate ongoing AI activities across agencies.
The plan as updated identifies nine strategies:
- Make long-term investments in fundamental and responsible AI research.
- Develop effective methods for human-AI collaboration.
- Understand and address the ethical, legal, and societal implications of AI.
- Ensure the safety and security of AI systems.
- Develop shared public datasets and environments for AI training and testing.
- Measure and evaluate AI systems through standards and benchmarks (e.g., Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and AI Risk Management Framework).
- Better understand the national AI R&D workforce needs (e.g., Request for Comment on Use of Automated Tools with the Workforce).
- Expand public-private partnerships to accelerate advances in AI.
- Establish a principled and coordinated approach to international collaboration in AI research.
The RFI notes that the pace of AI innovation is accelerating rapidly. It states that the U.S. must mitigate risks to fully harness AI’s benefits. To accomplish this, the Administration is developing a National AI Strategy, which will help ensure that the U.S. is responsive to the latest opportunities and challenges posed by AI. The national strategy will be informed in part by the information submitted in response to this RFI, which seeks input on the following topics:
- Protecting rights, safety and national security.
- Advancing equity and strengthening civil rights.
- Bolstering democracy and civil participation.
- Promoting economic growth and good jobs.
- Innovating in public services.
Each of these topics is described more fully in the RFI. Comments are due on July 7, 2023.
Department of Education Report
The Department’s report “addresses the clear need for sharing knowledge and developing policies for [AI], a rapidly advancing class of foundational capabilities which are increasingly embedded in all types of educational technology systems and are also available to the public.”
The report provides three reasons to address AI in education now: (1) AI may facilitate the realization of educational priorities in better ways, at scale, and with lower costs; (2) concerns over system-level risks and anxiety about future risks such as surveillance and job loss must be addressed quickly; and (3) the scale of unintended or unexpected consequences can be significant.
The report provides seven recommendations to guide AI policy in education:
- Emphasize Humans in the Loop: The Department calls on all constituents to adopt a “human in the loop” as a key criterion for educational use of AI.
- Align AI Models to a Shared Vision for Education: The Departments asks educational policy makers to use their power to align priorities, educational strategies, and technology adoption decisions to place the educational needs of students ahead of the excitement about emerging AI capabilities.
- Design Using Modern Learning Models: The Department requests that the R&D sector “ensure that product designs are based on best and most current principles of teaching and learning.”
- Prioritize Strengthening Trust: The Department notes that trust is a key component for AI systems that must incorporate safety, usability, and efficacy.
- Inform and Involve Educators: The Department asks for education technology industry participants to involve educators throughout the design and development process of AI systems.
- Focus R&D on Addressing Context and Enhancing Trust and Safety: The Department states that “R&D must take the lead in making AI models more context-sensitive and ensuring that they are effective, safe, and trustworthy for use with varied learners in diverse setting.”
- Develop Education-Specific Guidelines and Guardrails: The Department encourages constituents to increase their awareness of how AI reaches beyond privacy and security concerns and how to prepare to effectively confront future issues.