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  • Writer's pictureCorinne E. Atton

The NSCAI Voices Concern at America’s Readiness to Lead the AI Revolution

Artificial intelligence ("AI") is the one of the most exciting, and yet potentially alarming technologies of our time. Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, is reported to have said that whoever leads in the field of AI will rule the world—and he is probably right. A recent 756-page Report by the United States National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence ("NSCAI") voices significant concerns about the AI revolution, and America’s readiness to compete in it.

The NSCAI is a bipartisan commission of technologists, national security professionals, business executives, and academics. The NSCAI was created with the mandate to consider what is “necessary to advance the development of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and associated technologies … to comprehensively address the national security and defense needs of the United States.”

Identifying AI as “game changing,” “enormously powerful,” and capable of reorganizing life as we know it,” the clear message from the NSCAI Report is that Congress and the White House must act now, and must act big, to secure America’s position as a leader in AI, and to secure national security.

The Report is a reality check. The ability of computer systems to solve problems and to perform tasks that have traditionally required human intelligence—and in some cases, human performance—will be “world altering.” The impact of AI on our knowledge, economy, prosperity, welfare, and national security will be profound.

In this first of three short summaries of the NSCAI Report, we identify its key messages regarding the power and potential of AI, recognizing its pros and cons.

AI has the power to revolutionize the economy; to increase efficiencies and interoperability; to advance scientific frontiers; to effectively predict and model diseases to assist preparation and response; and to improve societal well-being, including by revolutionizing medicine and education. AI also has enormous potential in the fight against climate change, and to assist in our ability to mitigate and adapt to environmental change. But the ever increasing, pervasive use of AI may also come at a significant cost. Not least there are privacy and data concerns, and concerns as to the extent to which AI is trustworthy, and is used responsibly.

The NSCAI urges Congress and the White House to “continually assess new technological advancements to determine their potential to disrupt industries, change economies, and transform national security,” and stresses that the U.S. must take the lead to ensure that the future of AI is democratic.



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