Biden, AI and the future digital economy

How Biden’s commitment to AI attests to the future of big data

The Biden administration has devoted significant resources and attention to big data and artificial intelligence (AI). In June 2021, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the formation of the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Resource Task Force. It’s not the major infusion of cash that the industry desperately needs, but it is an indication of the importance the current administration places on developing the country’s AI capacity.

The new working group joins the United States National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), an independent organization established in 2018 to accelerate the development of AI and encourage partnerships between the United States government, the private sector and other democracies to advance AI initiatives. . Biden’s administration has also called for billions of dollars for technological research, including AI, in its 2022 infrastructure plan and budget, which is still awaiting approval by Congress.

The investment makes sense: AI has the potential to revolutionize virtually every aspect of our lives today. When properly channeled, it can be used to immense good, with commercial and non-commercial applications in fields ranging from medicine, manufacturing, agriculture, education and even personal safety. . In the wrong hands, it can be used to support authoritarian regimes and manipulate public opinion. Therefore, the new working group will focus on creating a roadmap to expand access to resources and infrastructure that will encourage positive AI innovation and lead to economic growth, as well as strengthen America’s geopolitical position and national well-being.

Big data and AI

There is no shortage of data today: countless data points are collected every second through billions of online interactions and millions of devices and sensors in private households, businesses, industry and organizations government. Data can be stored in the cloud, allowing extended access.

The challenge is how to use this data to serve the common good and stimulate economic growth. Big data is just a building block – it needs to be paired with sophisticated data management and advanced analytics to create valuable insights and support machine learning. Together, big data and AI open up endless opportunities and applications, which is why policymakers and investors are focused on creating the conditions for the field to grow and prosper.

Overcome obstacles to the development of AI

The Biden administration’s AI policy focuses on removing the barriers that currently prevent AI from reaching its full potential in the United States. In addition to the ongoing research and development and the creation of an appropriate policy, the various initiatives aim to enable the production of chips in the United States and to close the talent gap.

Chip production in the United States

AI isn’t powered by software alone – hardware like powerful computer chips is needed for AI systems and applications that run on devices. However, most computer chips are produced in Asia, mainly Taiwan and China. During the pandemic shutdowns of 2020, there was a severe semiconductor shortage that affected industries from home appliances to the automotive industry, to consumer electronics like smartphones. Companies have not been able to deliver products on time and new product launches have been delayed.

Biden’s AI strategy aims to build chip manufacturing capacity in the United States, minimizing America’s dependence on other countries. In his infrastructure bill, President Biden called for $ 150 million for manufacturing units to produce chips for devices with AI capabilities. It’s not at all close to the $ 35 billion needed by the US microchip industry according to an NSCAI report, but it is a step in the right direction.

Bridging the talent gap

There is a huge AI skills gap in the United States, and up to two in five companies struggle to fill critical positions such as AI developers and engineers, AI researchers, and data scientists. The United States is not alone: ​​most developed countries report a similar skills gap.

Some large private sector companies offer training in AI-related disciplines, but that’s a drop in the bucket – individual companies just don’t have the capacity to help retrain the workforce. . In a recent report, the NSCAI recommended that the US government invest in training the AI ​​workforce, including a US Digital Service Academy and a civilian National Digital Reserve Corps to recruit young and experienced talent. Although these initiatives currently only exist on paper, infrastructure legislation and discretionary funds are already being used to support various types of training and continuing education in AI.

Invest in AI

The Biden administration’s focus on AI indicates that it is likely to play an important role in the economy of the future. While government spending is still far from sufficient, it could prompt more companies to invest in AI and big data. As a result, the field is attracting considerable interest among investors, large and small.

Interested investors can choose to buy shares in any of the many companies that have made AI their primary focus. Alternatively, they can mitigate the risk of investing in a specific business and investing through a Big Data ETF (Exchange traded fund). The ETF’s net asset value is tied to the value of its composite stocks, which in this case are publicly traded companies active in big data and AI. ETFs are positioned to capture potential growth in an industry like AI that shows promise, while reducing the risk inherent in buying an individual stock.

About Anne Wurtsbach

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