An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: The Biden administration launched an initiative Thursday aiming to make more government data available to artificial intelligence researchers, part of a broader push to keep the U.S. on the cutting edge of the crucial new technology. The National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force, a group of 12 members from academia, government, and industry led by officials from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation, will draft a strategy for potentially giving researchers access to stores of data about Americans, from demographics to health and driving habits. They would also look to make available computing power to analyze the data, with the goal of allowing access to researchers across the country. The task force, which Congress mandated in the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020, is part of an effort across the government to ensure the U.S. remains at the vanguard of technological advancements.
Many researchers, particularly in academia, simply don’t have access to these computational resources and data, and this is hampering innovation. One example: The Transportation Department has access to a set of data gathered from vehicle sensors about how people drive, said Erwin Gianchandani, senior adviser at the National Science Foundation and co-chairman of the new AI task force. “Because you have very sensitive data about individuals, there are challenges in being able to make that data available to the broader research community,” he said. On the other hand, if researchers could get access, they could develop innovations designed to make driving safer. Census data, medical records, and other data sets could also potentially be made available for research by both private companies and academic institutions, officials said. They said the task force will evaluate how to make such data available while protecting Americans’ privacy and addressing other ethical concerns.
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