The U.S. Needs a Better AI Plan

To supercharge its technological capabilities, the US government is setting sail on a transformative AI journey. However, a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report reveals a critical lack of policies and standards, leaving the nation’s security vulnerable. The 96-page exposé delves into the government’s AI landscape.

As AI’s power grows, so do concerns about its impact, from job displacement to national security threats. The GAO surveyed 23 agencies, exposing the strides and secrecy in AI adoption. Notably, agencies like NASA and the Department of Homeland Security are leveraging AI for tasks ranging from monitoring volcanoes to border surveillance.

Yet, the report sheds light on a clandestine world, where more than 350 sensitive AI applications remain undisclosed. The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, with a small number of use cases, raise eyebrows due to the sensitivity of their AI applications, including thousands of facial recognition searches without adequate oversight.

The GAO emphasizes the urgent need for government-wide guidance, pointing out the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) delay in providing essential AI acquisition and use frameworks. Agencies risk inconsistent approaches without standardized policies, jeopardizing public welfare and security.

While President Biden’s recent AI executive order adds a layer of oversight, the GAO report grades agencies on their adherence to AI-related requirements. OMB, lagging on AI guidance, faces scrutiny alongside other agencies lacking in crucial planning.

For more details, you can access the full GAO report here:

Will the GAO’s wake-up call steer the government towards a safer and more strategic AI future? 

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