National AI Strategy Needs Key Updates to Strengthen U.S. Position as Global Leader

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WASHINGTON—The United States should make key revisions to its national Artificial Intelligence (AI) research and development strategy in order to stay ahead of competitors, according to a new paper published today by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. 

Few policy issues are as crucial to the future of U.S. national security and global economic competitiveness as the development of AI and AI-enabled emerging technologies. As the federal government seeks to recalibrate the national AI research strategy, it has an opportunity to strengthen America’s position as a global center of artificial intelligence innovation.

In “Strategies to Improve the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan,” author and CEI research fellow Ryan Nabil argues the U.S. should implement reforms aimed at better engaging the private sector, learning from the experiences of competitors, and ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent effectively.

“The national AI strategic plan must go beyond recognizing the essential role of the private sector and academic institutions and provide more concrete steps to engage them in AI research and development projects,” said Nabil. “An adaptable and light-touch regulatory approach is needed to secure America’s global economic competitiveness and technological innovation in artificial intelligence and AI-enabled emerging technologies.”

Key reforms identified by Nabil include:

  • Establishing a framework to track and evaluate the effectiveness of AI research and development spending and grants to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent effectively.
  • Developing shared data sets for public use as proposed in the national AI strategy to help strengthen AI research in academia and the private sector.
  • Creating a federal AI sandbox program to promote technological innovation, enhance regulatory understanding of AI, and help craft market-friendly regulatory frameworks and technical standards.
  • Developing a fuller understanding of other countries’ AI research and development strategies with an eye toward helping the U.S. government allocate research grants more effectively.

“Greater transparency, more precise information about federal AI spending, and a nuanced understanding of other countries’ strategies for AI development could help policymakers allocate R&D resources more effectively,” said Nabil.

Read the full paper on