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The release of the National Security Commission on AI Report on March 1, 2021, was a milestone event. Eighteen months in the making, this 700+ page non-partisan report is the most influential blueprint for how the U.S. should adopt AI policy and appropriate AI funding during the next 5 to 10 years. In this article, you will learn the five keys to help ensure the nation maintains its technology advantage in the age of AI. This article was first published on LinkedIn on March 15, 2021.
As the artificial intelligence (AI) landscape rapidly evolves, we can see new possibilities every day for harnessing machine learning to transform public-sector processes, serve citizens more effectively, and provide innovative support for defense missions. But there’s more to recognize in AI’s complex story. On the highway, it’s often said that “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” And it’s really no different for today’s AI race. When we look back, it’s increasingly clear that our adversaries have gained more ground than we would have imagined. In this way, the costs and risks of falling behind in the AI race have now become impossible to ignore.
Released on March 1, 2021, the final report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) gives a realistic assessment of the current state of AI and the investment required for the United States to maintain leadership, especially when safeguarding against shifting, increasingly malign threats. Based on deep analysis, the report’s most critical message is simply this: “America is not prepared to defend or compete in the AI era.”
This stark statement is undeniably true. While the United States has enjoyed technology leadership in other areas, we’ll quickly fall behind if action is not taken to heed the call plainly made in the Commission’s report. And the challenge ahead cannot be solved by one company, industry, or government alone—it is critical that we come together and responsibly develop the future of AI.
Here are five keys to improving U.S. standing in the global competition for AI capabilities:
Despite America’s vulnerable edge in the AI race, there is reason for optimism as we respond to the commission’s report. The United States can accelerate our response and grow our lead in AI if we channel the nation’s ingenuity—the public and private sectors working together with academia—into a coordinated, national push to responsibly develop and deploy AI at scale. As a trusted AI partner to the U.S. defense, intelligence, and civil sectors, Booz Allen strongly commits to enabling this critical work. And again, we believe that this effort must prioritize people as much as technology. Americans must understand the potential of AI to imagine and then bring to life its many possibilities. With the right blueprint to consistently embed important values and apply machine learning with trust, our government and its stakeholders can ensure the responsible, ethical development and use of AI to strengthen our national security.
About the Author:
Steven Escaravage leads Booz Allen’s Analytics practice and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Services business, serving clients across the defense, civil, and intelligence sectors. As a leader of Booz Allen's strategic innovation initiatives, Steve also leads the firm's investments in data science, machine learning, and AI. Areas of focus include machine learning operations, cognitive automation, and high performance computing. He holds an M.S. in operations research from George Mason University and a B.A. in mathematics from Rutgers University.
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