SIA Applauds Effort to Establish National Strategy for AI and Calls for Greater Emphasis on AI Hardware Research

Monday, Jun 10, 2019, 1:45pm

by Maryam Khan Cope, Director, Government Affairs


Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged in recent years as a promising technology with potentially transformative benefits across society. At the heart of all AI-related innovations is semiconductor technology. Development and deployment of AI will require a coordinated, comprehensive approach led by government and industry. SIA applauds bipartisan legislation introduced recently by Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to establish a comprehensive national AI strategy, and we urge Congress to approve it.

Semiconductors and AIThe Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act (AI-IA) (S. 1558) would provide a $2.2 billion federal investment over five years to build an AI-ready workforce, accelerating the responsible delivery of AI applications from government agencies, academia, and the private sector over the next 10 years. It also would establish a National AI Coordination Office (Director and staff to coordinate federal AI efforts), an AI Interagency Committee (senior leaders across federal departments), and an AI Advisory Committee (non-governmental experts) to develop a National Strategic Plan for AI research and development, and facilitate coordination across government agencies. Sens. Heinrich and Portman launched the bipartisan Senate Artificial Intelligence (AI) Caucus in March 2019.

The U.S. semiconductor industry’s annual research and development (R&D) investments, which totaled $39 billion in 2018, are a big part of what drives advances in AI applications. U.S. semiconductor firms are currently among the global leaders in meeting increased processor demand and providing more advanced memory solutions.

A recent SIA white paper outlined the critical role of semiconductor technology in enabling AI and the government policies needed to harness the potential of this promising technology and ensure continued U.S. leadership in AI. For the United States to maintain or expand its AI lead, SIA has called on the U.S. government to: 1) fund precompetitive basic research for AI hardware; 2) develop the AI workforce; 3) promote open data policies; 4) mitigate potential undesirable impacts of AI; and 5) protect security and privacy of sensitive data.

The Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act marks an important step unlocking AI’s full potential and ensuring America remains the world leader in the development and deployment of this must-win technology of the future. We commend Sens. Heinrich, Portman, and Schatz for introducing it and urge its swift approval.