AI Weekly: US agencies are increasing their investments in artificial intelligence

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This week, the US Department of Commerce announced that it will form a committee to advise federal agencies on AI research and development. Called the National Advisory Committee on Artificial Intelligence and supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the White House Office of National AI Initiatives, it will focus on a variety of AI-related issues, including the current state of competitiveness of USA And How AI Can Do It. improve opportunities for different geographic regions.

The committee’s formation comes as federal spending on artificial intelligence technologies increases during the pandemic. According to Deltek’s GovWin, identifiable federal spending on AI increased to nearly $ 1 billion in 2020, making it one of the fastest growing emerging technology investment areas. While that figure fell short of estimates, Bloomberg Government projected that the US will invest more than $ 6 billion in R&D projects related to artificial intelligence in 2021: it is a sign of the government’s renewed enthusiasm to support technologies that could generate $ 13 billion in economic benefits by 2030.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is among those who have urged lawmakers to beef up funding in the AI ​​space while incentivizing public-private partnerships to develop AI apps in government agencies. . The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence estimates that the US needs to spend $ 32 billion in the coming years to win the artificial intelligence race with China, among other rivals. To accomplish this, President Joe Biden has proposed spending 2% of total US economic output, or GPD, on science, compared to about 0.7%. That would be roughly $ 418 billion at last year’s GDP level, up from $ 146 billion.

The GovWin report shows that the federal government is nowhere close to coming close to Biden’s goal. But it reveals that AI spending across agencies is increasing overall, up 50% compared to 2018. Additionally, US AI spending is growing across agencies even without a primarily scientific mission, reveals the report, such as the Departments of Justice, Transportation, and State. And the government is increasingly using AI capabilities, including robotic process automation, for research, surveillance, trend analysis, and vaccine development.

Increase investments

Between 2018 and 2020, US government agencies spent a total of $ 1.9 billion on AI-related service obligations, representing a 70% increase over the three-year period. R&D spending reached $ 1.2 billion during the same period from 2018 to 2020, despite AI spending by the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the National Aeronautics and Air Administration Space decreased by $ 81 million combined. .

Agencies with substantial AI spending outside of the top ten included the Department of Veterans Affairs ($ 38 million), the Department of Commerce ($ 37 million), the Department of Agriculture ($ 28 million), and the Insurance Administration Social ($ 26 million). . Spending on autonomy across all agencies amounted to $ 520 million from 2018 to 2020, followed by smart systems ($ 122 million), machine learning ($ 114 million), augmented reality ($ 39 million), deep learning ($ 26 million) and virtual. reality ($ 24 million).

But US defense spending far outstripped that of civilian agencies. According to GovWin, the Defense Department AI booked 109% more in AI from 2018 to 2020: $ 550 million in AI obligations awarded to the top ten contractors. Defense accounted for 37% of the US government’s total AI spending, and contractors got the windfall. Lockheed Martin obtained $ 106 million from the Missile Defense Agency for a cyber radar, while Accenture earned $ 29 million from DHS, the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Commerce, and the Patent and Trademark Office.

Some of these projects drift into controversial territory. Microsoft and Amazon, for example, received contracts with the Pentagon to help the military identify drone objects and other aerial imagery, a project Google announced in 2018 it would not renew amid widespread employee protests. And a recent report released by the Government Accountability Office revealed that nearly a dozen agencies plan to expand their use of facial recognition, a technology that has been shown to exhibit bias against marginalized gender and ethnic groups.

In light of this, while the GovWin report admits that investing in AI has become necessary for the US to remain competitive, it cautions that agencies must improve trust and confidence in AI and develop standards for the use of technology. “Legislation and executive branch policy are key drivers of federal investment in artificial intelligence and machine learning,” the statement read. “Limiting the regulatory burden on agencies hoping to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning will be a key factor shaping future investment.”

For AI coverage, send news tips to Kyle Wiggers, and be sure to sign up for the AI ​​Weekly newsletter and bookmark our AI channel, The Machine.

Thank you for reading,

Kyle wiggers

AI Writer


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