This article is published in the November 2018 issue.

CCC Response to NITRD “RFI on Update to the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan”

The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) National Coordination Office (NCO), on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council‘s (NSTC) Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, put out a Request for Information (RFI) from the public on the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan.

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) responded to the RFI and submitted their response, which was then endorsed by a number of societies in a corresponding statement.

The CCC agreed with the NITRD NCO and Select Committee “that advances in AI will have a transformational impact on society, and that sustained support for fundamental research in a wide array of AI-related topics will continue to be crucial in enabling those advances.” For that reason, CCC is pleased that the Strategic Plan will be updated to reflect current priorities.

The long-term promise of AI is to produce systems that understand and interact with their environment in intelligent ways. While learning technologies will likely contribute to many of these applications, they constitute only part of a truly intelligent system. The CCC listed a few other general attributes that stand out when considering this intelligent system perspective more deeply.

  1. An intelligent system will likely involve many components with different functions.
  2. AI systems will be embedded in a context or an environment that often includes people and other AI systems.
  3. Continued AI advances, especially involving substantial data, will require concomitant advances in computer systems for faster and less expensive cycles, communications, and storage.

This fall, the CCC embarked on the development of an AI Research Roadmap, with broad input from the computing research community, with the goal of identifying key research areas in AI and delivering its findings by Spring 2019.

While much work is being done in AI, both in research and application, by academia and industry, the CCC believes that this complex collection of issues demands a concerted effort in establishing a set of research priorities and long-term investments. As part of that effort, the CCC is working with leading researchers in the computing research community to gather academic and industrial researchers across disciplines to produce a roadmap, culminating with a report in the Spring of 2019. This AI Roadmap Effort is led by Yolanda Gil (USC) and Bart Selman (Cornell).

The CCC hopes that the NITRD NCO and Select Committee will view these intermediary recommendations as well as this on-going AI research roadmapping effort as valuable input from the computing research community that can be used to update the Strategic Plan.