White House Updates AI Strategy

The White House has updated the National AI Research and Development Strategic Plan to emphasize partnerships between the public and private sector. The National Plan was released in February to serve as a national roadmap for handling the research and development of artificial intelligence (AI). The update encourages agencies to expand public-private partnerships to advance AI.

The original plan had seven strategies for advancing AI research, and the update includes the eighth strategy on public-private partnerships.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has noted that these partnerships should be a three-way collaboration between the government, private industry, and research universities.

“Government-university-industry [research and development] partnerships bring pressing, real-world challenges faced by industry to university researchers, enabling ‘use-inspired research’; leverage industry expertise to accelerate the transition of open and published research results into viable products and services in the marketplace for economic growth; and grow research and workforce capacity by linking university faculty and students with industry representatives, industry settings, and industry jobs,” OSTP has said.

The plan suggests four structures and mechanisms for public-private engagement:

  1. Individual project-based collaborations
  2. Joint programs to advance open, precompetitive, fundamental research
  3. Collaborations to deploy and enhance research infrastructure; and
  4. Collaborations to enhance workforce development including broadening participation

The national plan also provided examples of where private-public collaboration had worked well in the past.

According to the plan, “The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) piloted the Health Tech Sprint initiative, also known in its first iteration as “Top Health,” modeled in part after the Census Bureau's Opportunity Project. This effort created a nimble framework to public-private collaborations around bidirectional data links. It piloted new models for iterating on data release for AI training and testing, and it developed a voluntary incentivization framework for a public–private AI ecosystem.”

The updated plan also modernizes the previous seven strategies to include long-term investments in AI research and greater understanding of potential ethical issues.

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