The National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) Task Force – a Federal advisory group authorized by Congress in 2020 to explore creating a national resource for AI research and development – issued a new report this week that lays out the beginnings of vision for how a national infrastructure could be established to meet the needs of the U.S. AI research community.

Pursuant to the National AI Initiative Act of 2020, the NAIRR Task Force is seeking, among other aims, to address AI R&D resource needs, and the divide that continues to grow between large organizations and just about everyone else.

The National AI Initiative Office said in a statement that resources often are limited to larger organizations, which limits innovation due to a lack of diversity in ideas.

“Progress at the current frontiers of AI is often tied to the use of large volumes of advanced computational power and data, and access to those resources today is too often limited to large technology companies and well-resourced universities,” wrote Lynne Parker, U.S. deputy CTO and Director of the National AI Initiative Office.

“Consequently, the breadth of ideas and perspectives incorporated into AI innovations can be limited and lead to the creation of systems that perpetuate biases and other systemic inequalities,” Parker said.

According to the NAIRR task force report, the growing divide for access to resources could greatly skew the AI research ecosystem and threaten the ability of the U.S. to cultivate an AI research community and workforce that reflects the country’s diversity.

In its interim report released this week, the task force outlines how a national cyberinfrastructure could be established to meet the needs of the country’s research community.

The plan, the task force said, builds on existing and future Federal investments, designs in protections for privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties, and promotes diversity and equitable access.

“The vision laid out in this interim report is the first step towards a more equitable future for AI R&D in America – a future where innovation can flourish and the promise of AI can be realized in a way that works for all Americans,” wrote Parker.

The Task Force is still developing a roadmap for achieving its goals on AI R&D, and will release a final report at the end of the year.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.