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Senate bill would boost AI adoption in federal government

The AI in Government Act would fund smarter data use.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 26, 2018
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The US government is only dabbling in artificial intelligence at the moment. It might make a larger commitment before long, however. A bipartisan group of senators (Brian Schatz, Cory Gardner and Rob Portman) have introduced an AI in Government Act that would increase federal AI adoption by both including AI in data-related plans and supplying the resources to make those plans a reality. Thankfully, this isn't just a question of throwing money at the problem -- it would have multiple government organizations shift more attention to the emerging technology.

The General Services Administration would have additional powers to both research AI policy and provide relevant expertise to agencies. A new advisory board would tackle AI policy "opportunities and challenges" for executive-level agencies. The Office of Management and Budget would create a strategy for investing in and using AI for federal data, while the Office of Personnel Management would pinpoint the skills needed for AI workers and create a range of jobs for those employees.

There's no certainty the Act will reach the President's desk, but it has some notable endorsements, including Intel, Microsoft and the Internet Association (which includes Amazon, Facebook and Google). The main challenge may be convincing other politicians that AI will be helpful for making sense of gigantic government databases and putting that info to work.

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