March 21, 2018
By: REBECCA KHEEL
A key lawmaker wants to prepare the country for threats posed by artificial intelligence.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, introduced a bill Wednesday that would create an independent commission to study the country’s AI national security needs.
“Artificial intelligence is a constantly developing technology that will likely touch every aspect of our lives,” Stefanik said in a statement Wednesday. “This legislation I have introduced today will develop a commission to review advances in AI, identify our nation’s AI needs and make actionable recommendations of what direction we need to take.”
She added that she hopes to fold the bill into the annual defense policy bill, which the committee is expected to work on in April and May.
Stefanik’s bill comes as China has made deep investment in AI, saying it wants to be the world leader in the technology by 2030.
Last month, Defense Secretary James Mattis questioned whether AI will change the fundamental nature of war.
“The fundamental nature of war is almost like H2-O, OK, and you know what it is. It’s equipment, technology, courage competence, integration of capabilities, fear, cowardice — all these things mixed together into a very fundamentally unpredictable fundamental nature of war,” Mattis told reporters. “But I’m certainly questioning my original premise that the fundamental nature of war will not change. You’ve got to question that now. I just don’t have the answers yet.”
Stefanik’s bill would create an independent National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence to review advances in AI, machine learning and related technology and identifying national security needs related to AI.
The commission would look at the competitiveness of the United States; ways to maintain a technological advantage; developments and trends in international cooperation and competition; ways to encourage more investment in private, public, academic and combined research; incentives to attract, recruit and retain leading talent; risks associated with the law of armed conflict; and ways to establish data standards.
The commission would provide near-term actionable recommendations to the president and the Congress, such as ways to better organize the federal government for AI, and then give actionable recommendations annually through 2020.
“AI has already produced many things in use today, including web search, object recognition in photos or videos, prediction models, self-driving cars and automated robotics,” Stefanik said. “It is critical to our national security but also to the development of our broader economy that the United States becomes the global leader in further developing this cutting edge technology.”