Making the case for an ‘Artificial Intelligence Agency’

A
A
A

Robert Work, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, and senior counselor for defense at the Center for a New American Security, discusses the need for the U.S. to develop an overarching AI strategy, and how a dedicated agency could take charge.


Artificial Intelligence is a new paradigm, not just in the civilian government, but on the battlefield as well. However, making sure the U.S. stays on the forefront of AI research requires a plan. One idea proposed by Robert Work, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, and senior counselor for defense at the Center for a New American Security, is to task a dedicated agency with developing AI doctrine.

“This is a national problem that we need to think about and move forward on. The Chinese recently published an AI strategy, that in essence says, ‘We are going to catch the United States in AI technologies by 2020, we’re going to surpass them by 2025, and we will lead the world in AI technologies in 2030,’” said Work, “I use the National AI Agency as an exemplar of how we responded to the space challenge… in my view, I’m not certain that an agency is necessary, but certainly I think a national response is necessary.”

Work believes that the negative perception of AI is a roadblock to making it more commonplace, and that one goal of a future AI strategy would be to change that narrative.

“Right now, I think we’ve indelibly shaped by movies, books, and TV. Generally, a lot of people say ‘AI, it is either going to take my job, rule the world, or kill me.’ It’s a very dystopian view of AI,” Work told Government Matters. “I am an optimist on AI. I believe it will help our country, it will help our citizens… and it will help us be more competitive in the military sphere. One of the things I hope this will do is come up with a narrative that explains to people, ‘Hey there’s a very positive view of this.’”