The national security of the United States depends on a strong public health infrastructure, affordable and accessible healthcare, and investment in biomedical research. Maintaining the nation’s position as a world leader in biotechnology and medical research will require significant investment in innovation, including expanding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to combat biological threats, prepare for future pandemics, and improve quality of life. Recognition of the importance of operationalizing AI for healthcare applications is growing; however, a lack of urgency poses a significant threat to the health of U.S. citizens and the nation’s efforts to create a future where AI is responsibly employed.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought into focus two alternate futures: one future where continued underfunding of the federal information technology and AI infrastructure places America at risk for catastrophic failure during public health emergencies; and another future where we realize the full potential of AI to rapidly develop vaccines based on a virus’ genetic sequence and align critical supplies to disease hot spots, ensuring that citizens across the nation have access to live-saving care. Preparedness for future pandemics is critical for national security and requires a whole-of-government approach where federal civilian agencies include AI as a mission-critical priority and take a central role in advancing AI capabilities.
The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) Final Report emphasizes the importance of committing resources, talent, technology, and partnerships to develop the future of AI for civilian purposes. At the NSCAI’s Global Emerging Technology Summit, leaders from nations around the world joined with the private sector to outline a comprehensive strategy for advancing AI platforms through multilateral cooperation and adherence to democratic values. As this global collaboration takes shape, federal civilian agencies will provide critical leadership and innovation. Winning the global AI competition will drive advancements in biomedical research and development (R&D); therefore, it is imperative that all federal agencies, including civil health organizations, prioritize investment in AI.