Hurd, Kelly, BPC, CNAS Release R&D Guidelines for National AI Strategy

Reps. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and I in partnership with the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) released a report—Cementing American Artificial Intelligence Leadership: AI Research & Development—calling for federal investments into research and development (R&D) in artificial intelligence (AI) in order for the U.S. to maintain its strategic advantage, ensure economic growth and better position itself for the future economy.

R&D investments drive long-term economic growth, and the U.S. share of global R&D spending has declined sharply in recent decades as other nations have ramped up their efforts. For the first time ever China, in 2019, was on track to outpace the United States in R&D spending.

The report notes, “To ensure the United States is maximizing its R&D potential, and, to ensure the entire R&D cycle from basic research to commercialization is fully utilized, the partnership of government, academia and the private sector must be strengthened to ensure each has adequate access to the resources they need while protecting intellectual property rights and data privacy.”

America is home to some of the best and brightest minds, so we should enable those minds to discover and develop ‘the next big thing’ in AI in order to help the U.S. to keep its competitive advantage. Ensuring robust federal funding for R&D will support the development of revolutionary technologies. With China dramatically increasing their spending in R&D, it’s all the more important for America to invest. We face a potential future where Mandarin and the Yuan, not English and the dollar, could lead the world’s economy, so we must maintain our edge.

“Innovation is built on R&D. Competitive advantage is built on R&D. The future is built on R&D. As AI revolutionizes the world and economy, we can either be leaders or we can fall behind. The decision for future generations is up to today’s policymakers and business leaders,” said Kelly.

"Federal investment and smart R&D policy have been critical to the technological success of the United States and will be especially important with the rise of AI,” said BPC President Jason Grumet.

“This report offers practicable policy recommendations that will help position the United States to retain its lead in this increasingly critical technology area,” said CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine.

This report is part of a series on artificial intelligence issues. Two prior installments, on workforce and national security implications, have been released in recent weeks. In preparing these studies, BPC and its partners worked with government officials, industry representatives, civil society advocates, and academics to better understand the range of challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as AI technology comes into more widespread use.

The goal of this white paper, along with the other three papers, is to suggest concrete steps policymakers could take to advance responsible development of AI, building on the work done by the Obama and Trump administrations in recent years.

The three released white papers are available below:

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