The US is Asking for Help Understanding the Impacts of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, by Global Panorama. Some Rights Reserved
Artificial Intelligence, by Global Panorama. Some Rights Reserved

As we approach the celebration of the 4th of July, I thought it might be interesting to share a request for information made to the US Federal Register and a post on the Whitehouse blog. The US government is interested in what Artificial Intelligence might mean to the people of the United States, and how we could learn about it more. To find out, they are asking for comments by July 22, 2016.

Ed Felton, Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer wrote the following blog post about what the government would like to learn: How to Prepare for the Future of Artificial Intelligence. He tells us that the reason for the request for public input is to learn from a wide range of people about what we can do to become ready:

Broadly, OSTP is interested in developing a view of AI across all sectors for the purpose of recommending directions for research and determining challenges and opportunities in this field. The views of the American people, including stakeholders such as consumers, academic and industry researchers, private companies, and charitable foundations, are critical to informing an understanding of current and future needs for AI in diverse fields.

The request for information can be found on the Federal Register here:
Request for Information on Artificial Intelligence

The Office of Science and Technology Policy is asking for comments that tell them about:

  1. The legal and governance implications of AI;
  2. The use of AI for public good;
  3. The safety and control issues for AI;
  4. The social and economic implications of AI;
  5. The most pressing, fundamental questions in AI research, common to most or all scientific fields;
  6. The most important research gaps in AI that must be addressed to advance this field and benefit the public;
  7. The scientific and technical training that will be needed to take advantage of harnessing the potential of AI technology, and the challenges faced by institutions of higher education in retaining faculty and responding to explosive growth in student enrollment in AI-related courses and courses of study;
  8. The specific steps that could be taken by the federal government, research institutes, universities, and philanthropies to encourage multi-disciplinary AI research;
  9. Specific training data sets that can accelerate the development of AI and its application;
  10. The role that “market shaping” approaches such as incentive prizes and Advanced Market Commitments can play in accelerating the development of applications of AI to address societal needs, such as accelerated training for low and moderate income workers (see; and
  11. Any additional information related to AI research or policymaking, not requested above, that you believe OSTP should consider.

If you would like to submit comments, you can do so by Fax, or Mail, or online at:

On July 7th, a workshop and presentation will be livestreamed on near term impacts of AI titled, The Social and Economic Implications of Artificial Intelligence Technologies in the Near-Term at 5:30pm (est). There are program committee members from Microsoft and Google, the Whitehouse, and New York University School of Law, Harvard, and Washington University. This presentation looks like it may be really interesting.

IBM has provided a response to the government’s request for information, and they refer to “Augmented Intelligence” rather than “Artifical Intelligence” and they cover of 50 years of activity in their answer- Response to – Request for Information Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence.

I will try to add links to other responses as I see them.

5 thoughts on “The US is Asking for Help Understanding the Impacts of Artificial Intelligence”

  1. Hi Florian,

    It’s one of the channels that they make available. I worked for a government office for 14 years, and many days I sent messages with a Fax machine. No cynicism was intended in my mention of it, nor in their use of it.

  2. Hi Bill,
    I think you misunderstood. I was only referring to the government office that is asking to submit comments through fax machines from people that are supposed to understand the influence of AI. I will never understand why fax machines still exist in the year 2016 (and I did not understand it in 2006 either…)
    Sorry for the confusion, I never intended to criticise you 😉

  3. I agree Florian.

    As a matter of fact, I. Do not recall the last time we received a fax other than that of those originating from our vendor.


    This also has me considering our continued investment in the company ” One Eight Hundred” number?

    Great subject and thread!

  4. It’s interesting how the presentation is titled, ‘The Social and Economic Implications of Artificial Intelligence Technologies in the Near-Term’ because I think it’s likely that AI technologies will completely change the way we live in the longer term, and I’d love to have heard what the folks from Microsoft, Google and Harvard thought about this. In particular, are they developing any products ideas with this in mind?

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