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US Government Asks Agencies How Generative AI Can Help Them


The United States government appears to see generative AI as more than just another technological novelty as the Biden administration recently began surveying federal agencies on how they can make the new technology work for them in their push to meet their goals.

The White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) formally released a public request for information on Tuesday, May 23rd, seeking input for a potential National AI Strategy. OSTP added that it was open to comments and suggestions till July 7th. 

Among the aspects the OSTP wanted feedback on are how federal agencies can use artificial intelligence to improve service delivery, what are the opportunities and risks inherent in using AI in government service, as well as the most effective and cost-efficient ways to use such technologies.

What Will the Strategy Mean for the US Government?

Developing a National AI Strategy will give the federal government the means to provide an approach to AI use that encompasses the whole of American society.

It is hoped that the strategy will focus on both current and potential advances in AI technology, ensure that the country is responsive to the latest opportunities offered and issues posed by AI tools, along with the impact the technology could have on the world in years to come.

Earlier this month, White House officials stated that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will release draft guidelines come summer of this year regarding the use of AI within the national government.

The guidelines will also serve as the basis of key policies to be implemented among federal agencies regarding the development, purchase, and subsequent use of AI technologies even as they uphold the rights of the American people.

Current Challenges

This request for information stems from the way federal agencies have balked at the use of generative AI applications or have imposed policies against their use upon their employees.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example, prohibits its employees from using generative AI tools for official use. The Agency’s Office of Mission Support has said that this policy is more of an interim decsions as senior officials continue their study of how AI can be used properly within the organization.

In the EPA’s case, a final decision on the use of generative AI remains pending as of press time.

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