The Biden Administration is working hard in a wide range of areas, so maybe it’s no surprise that HHS released this report, titled Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy (PDF), this month.
“HHS recognizes that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a critical enabler
of its mission in the future,” it says on the first page of the 7-page document. “HHS will leverage AI to solve previously unsolvable problems,” in part by “scaling trustworthy AI adoption across the Department.”
So HHS is going to be buying some AI products. I wonder what they are (will be), and who makes (or will make) them.
“HHS will leverage AI capabilities to solve complex mission challenges and generate AI-enabled insights to inform efficient programmatic and business decisions” — while to some extent this is typical current business jargon, I’d like to know:
- Which complex mission challenges? What AI capabilities will be applied, and how?
- Which programmatic and business decisions? How will AI-enabled insights be applied?
These are the kinds of questions journalists will need to ask when these AI claims are bandied about. Name the system(s), name the supplier(s), give us the science. Link to the relevant research papers.
I think a major concern would be use of any technologies coming from Amazon, Facebook, or Google — but I am no less concerned about government using so-called solutions peddled by business-serving firms such as Deloitte.
The following executive orders (both from the previous administration) are cited in the HHS document:
- Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence (13859), February 2019
- Promoting the Use of Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence in the Federal Government (13690), December 2020
The department will set up a new HHS AI Council to identify priorities and “identify and foster relationships with public and private entities aligned to priority AI initiatives.” The council will also establish a Community of Practice consisting of AI practitioners (page 5).
Four key focus areas:
- An AI-ready workforce and AI culture (includes “broad, department-wide awareness of the potential of AI”)
- AI research and development in health and human services (includes grants)
- “Democratize foundational AI tools and resources” — I like that, although implementation is where the rubber meets the road. This sentence indicates good aspirations: “Readily accessible tools, data assets, resources, and best practices will be critical to minimizing duplicative AI efforts, increasing reproducibility, and ensuring successful enterprise-wide AI adoption.”
- “Promote ethical, trustworthy AI use and development.” Again, a fine statement, but let’s see how they manage to put this into practice.
The four focus areas are summarized in a compact chart (image file).
AI in Media and Society by Mindy McAdams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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