The Center for Data Innovation wants an AI national strategy

The group released a thorough report Tuesday on why a strategy is necessary and suggestions for what it should look like.
Capitol Hill. (Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

The Center for Data Innovation released a new report advocating for a comprehensive artificial intelligence national strategy Tuesday.

The roughly 50 page document lays out why a national strategy is important — for competitiveness, national security and more — as well as the group’s take on the overarching goals any such strategy should promote. It also includes 40 recommendations for implementation for leaders in Congress and the administration.

The development of such a strategy is crucial for U.S. economic and technological dominance, the report asserts.

“Absent an AI strategy tailored to the United States’ political economy, U.S. firms developing AI will lose their advantage in global markets and U.S. organizations will adopt AI at a less-than-optimal pace,” the report states.


The issue is that while the federal government is certainly doing things in AI — the report cites the creation of the White House Select Committee as a prime example — these efforts aren’t yet “cohesive.”

Lynne Parker, assistant director for AI at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, seemed to take issue with this characterization. “I would argue that you don’t need everything written down in a PDF to see what a strategy is,” she said Tuesday.

But the Center for Data Innovation, clearly, differs in its perspective.

In the report, the center argues for a national strategy that would, in its core tenants, support key AI organizational inputs like high-value data and programming skills; accelerate public-sector adoption of AI; support AI adoption in industry; support digital free trade policies; foster innovation-friendly regulation; and provide workers with tools to manage the inevitable workforce transformation.

Among the 40 recommendations for implementation of the plan are the suggestions that government agencies make more data available for AI training, that Congress provide more funds for AI research and development, and that the government support the growth of AI talent through scholarships and internships. The recommendations also include a section devoted to the “transformation of government with AI.” Here, the paper recommends that the White House “establish a strategic initiative devoted to AI in the CIO Council” and that defense agencies should “prioritize” the use of AI in service of their national security missions.


The center praises the Department of Defense’s new Joint AI Center (JAIC) as an example of “domain-specific programs to spur AI adoption.” Other agencies should consider creating similar groups, it states.

The report seems to suggest that time is of the essence here — the U.S. is behind several international competitors developing an AI national strategy. Canada, China, France and Japan have recently published their own strategies.

Whether for this competitive reason or others, interest in developing an AI national strategy isn’t limited to outside think tanks. In September, Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Robin Kelly, D-Ill., called for the creation of a strategy, citing the “opportunity” that exists for the U.S. to lead the development of international norms around this important technology.

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