US AI Policy Targets Healthcare, Education, Climate Change
By Jack Kotin  |  Feb 28, 2022
US AI Policy Targets Healthcare, Education, Climate Change
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Given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, ever-present geopolitical tensions, and an increasingly digital world, mastering the latest artificial intelligence technology and defending against the potential threats it poses will be among the greatest challenges the United States will face in the coming years, and requires a comprehensive, coordinated strategy involving government, the private sector, and academia. Does the US have what it takes to stay ahead in AI?

BOSTON - Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a top United States policy priority for many years and this has recently taken on added importance and urgency, especially as China continues to pour resources into AI-related research and development of its own and steadily narrow the gap with the US. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a severe strain on healthcare systems and providers, making it more important than ever to accelerate AI-led innovation in the healthcare sector, use AI technology to fight and contain the virus, and help mitigate the potential for similar outbreaks in the future. 

Climate change is another crucial driver of AI innovation in the US, as the technology realizes huge benefits in better energy efficiency and allocation, reduction of waste and greenhouse gas emissions, improved infrastructure, and best use of new, cleaner energy. Though the US is still the leading AI power, in the coming years it will take even more effort, resources, investment in talent, and cross-industry coordination for the country to hold its edge. 

Recent Government Policy

In February 2019, ex-US President Donald Trump launched the American AI Initiative and signed an executive order for ‘Maintaining American Leadership in AI,’ which identified several key areas of investment and greater spending on AI for 2021 and sought to set updated technical standards, regulations, and international agreements for AI. This national war chest for AI spending in 2021 included over US$830 million for AI research and development at the National Science Foundation (NSF), US$125 million for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, US$100 million for the Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, US$50 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), US$459 million for the Defense Advanced Research Projects

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