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Strengthening and Democratizing the U.S. Artificial Intelligence Innovation Ecosystem

Strengthening and Democratizing the U.S. Artificial Intelligence Innovation Ecosystem: An Implementation Plan for a National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource. National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force, January 2023. “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing our country and our world. From how citizens navigate their daily lives to how researchers drive discoveries in the lab to how manufacturers build products, AI is giving rise to new capabilities. New AI and AI-driven discoveries and capabilities hold the potential to drive practical solutions to address critical global challenges such as food production, climate change, poverty, and cancer. We have only started to scratch the surface of what is possible, and cannot afford to miss out on seizing the opportunity for leveraging AI to serve the public good. However, the opportunities to pursue cutting-edge AI research and apply AI to new domains and challenges are currently not accessible by all of America’s incredible talent nor harnessed by the public sector. Much of today’s AI research relies on access to large volumes of data and advanced computational power, which are often unavailable to researchers beyond those at well-resourced technology companies and universities. This access divide limits the ability to leverage AI to tackle the big challenges in our society. It also constrains the diversity of researchers in the field and the breadth of ideas incorporated into AI innovations, contributing to embedded biases and other systemic inequalities found in AI systems today. Recognizing this challenge, in the National AI Initiative Act of 2020, Congress directed the National Science Foundation (NSF), in consultation with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), to establish a task force to create a roadmap for a National AI Research Resource (NAIRR)—a shared research infrastructure that would provide AI researchers and students with significantly expanded access to computational resources, high-quality data, educational tools, and user support. This final report of the NAIRR Task Force presents a roadmap and implementation plan for a national cyberinfrastructure aimed at overcoming the access divide, reaping the benefits of greater brainpower and more diverse perspectives and experiences applied to developing the future of AI technology and its role in our society. Such a national cyberinfrastructure also presents a unique and critical opportunity to “design in” the standards for responsible AI research practices and governance processes that uphold our priority to develop and harness these groundbreaking technologies in a manner that reinforces our Nation’s democratic values and Americans’ personal freedoms.”

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