The next step for US Artificial Intelligence

On September 6, the U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced the establishment of an Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office (AITO) within the Department of Energy (DOE). The purpose of AITO is to better coordinate the AI work within the DOE enterprise in order to “Transform DOE into a world-leading AI enterprise by accelerating the research, development, delivery, and adoption of AI”.

Source: US Department of Energy 2019

It is clear that Artificial Intelligence is highly prioritized within the current administration. Earlier this year, President Trump signed an Executive order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence in order to promote and protect national AI technology and innovation. The executive order was only a first step in the broad and ambitious American AI initiative, where the administration has launched several other policies and strategies related to AI research and development.

The Department of Energy plays a crucial role in the acceleration of AI that we see in the US today. With 17 national laboratories holding some of the most high-performance computing resources available, including some of the fastest supercomputers in the world, the DOE enterprise is leading the way in scientific advancement within the US.

Already today, the DOE national laboratories are using AI applications in their research within fields such as medicine, cybersecurity and astrophysics. For instance, the DOE is currently partnering with the National Institutes of Health by using supercomputers for AI analysis of cancer patient data to improve treatments. Another DOE AI partnership is with the Veterans Administration, where health data is used for research on suicide prevention, prostate cancer, and cardiovascular disease. These efforts are not only important for medical and health research, but for the improvement of AI algorithms and applications. 

The newly established AITO within DOE can easier coordinate DOE projects like the above mentioned, as well as further facilitate partnerships and access to federal data and models for American AI researchers. This new office essentially helps to bring the government even closer to the industry and to the academia, and has been warmly welcomed by, for instance, members of Congress, the media, the industry and national security stakeholders.

From a Swedish perspective, it is relevant to understand the importance of DOE in the development and adoption of artificial intelligence on a global level. Parallel to America’s AI initiatives, we have ambitious Swedish initiatives that gathers and brings forth resources, knowledge and data in order to accelerate applied AI research and innovation. Some examples are The Wallenberg Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP),  AI Innovation of Sweden, and AI Competence of Sweden. Both the industry as well as academia are making investments and collaborating within various geographical clusters in Sweden and in the US.

For the future of AI, there are great opportunities for the countries to learn from each other and to extend their relations. The knowledge and resources of the AITO can possibly facilitate such exchanges.

Are you curious to learn more about the AITO within DOE, and other AI initiatives within the Trump administration? Follow this link.

Agnes Wiberg, intern at the Office of Science and Innovation in Washington DC