White House Holds AI Summit

At a summit hosted on Monday, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy gathered tech leaders from across the federal government to learn about current uses of artificial intelligence (AI) and discuss the technology’s future. The event focused on how the federal government invests in research and development, collects and provides vast data resources, and regulates the new technology.

The White House announced the summit as an opportunity to address gaps in research and development efforts. Assistant Director for AI at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Lynne Parker, said the event would emphasize the usage of AI in updating government services.

According to FedScoop reports, speakers at the summit included Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Kelvin Droegemeier, U.S. CIO Suzette Kent, and adviser to the president Ivanka Trump. Topics included American leadership in AI, government-wide AI initiatives, and workforce reskilling.

The event shined light onto three case studies for current AI use in government.

Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan discussed the Department of Defense’s Joint AI Center (JAIC). Lt. Gen. Shanahan discussed the work of JAIC, which includes using AI to defend critical infrastructure from potential cyberattacks and creating ethical frameworks for AI’s use. While progress on AI has been made, according to him, more can be done.

“2020 is the year of AI for the Department of Defense,” Lt. Gen. Shanahan noted. “And I assume everybody in here feels like we need to start moving a lot faster.”

Patricia Flatley Brennan, Director of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, followed up with information on how her organization has used AI.

According to Brennan, AI has allowed the agency to develop better algorithms for surfacing results on PubMed. The database contains over 30 million citations and is consistently one of the most-visited federal websites. The “best match” algorithm has been in testing for the past two years, she said, and is set to go live “within the next two months.”

Next, Charles Keckler, Associate Deputy Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, shared the agency’s “AI for deregulation” pilot.

The project uses natural language processing to find regulations that may be too burdensome, obsolete, or ineffective. The regulations would then be reviewed by a subject matter expert to decide if they should be eliminated or changed to streamlined.

“Over the past few years, this administration has taken amazing strides to advance AI and retain American leadership in this critical industry,” Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios said during his remarks. “We have so much potential to use AI in a way that reduces costs, improves quality of services, empowers people and increases efficiency.”

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