By the Partnership for Public Service
Human beings have been interested in intelligent automation as far back as ancient times, when Greeks believed an automated man made of bronze circled around Crete several times a day to protect Europa, the mother of the island’s King Minos, from pirates and invaders.
This myth from more than 2,000 years ago perhaps prophesized the vision people have today of relinquishing routine tasks to machines, so that people can take on assignments that require creative thinking and high-level reasoning. Nowadays, it is not a bronze man performing a daily job, but artificial intelligence that is automating everyday tasks at an increasing rate. The world is grasping the possibility that technology could simplify numerous repetitive jobs.
Government has taken notice. In May 2017, Congress established the bipartisan Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus, and members have since introduced numerous pieces of legislation on AI. On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the administration launched the American AI Initiative through a February 2019 executive order. It calls on agencies to prioritize research and development investments in AI, improve access to data and the computing power AI systems rely on, create guidelines for dependable AI technology and take steps to prepare the American workforce for the coming disruption.
This publication produced by the Partnership for Public Service, to which PCI contributed inputs, explores different possibilities for the future involving AI and government.