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AI Caucus introduces legislation to ‘spur groundbreaking scientific research’

Artificial intelligence
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The Creating Resources for Every American To Experiment with Artificial Intelligence (CREATE AI) Act of 2023 establishes a shared national research infrastructure for AI in the United States.

Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus co-chairs and vice-chairs U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo of California, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia and Rep. Jay Obernolte of California introduced the legislation on Friday. The CREATE AI Act would establish the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) to provide AI researchers and students from diverse backgrounds with greater access to the complex resources, data and tools necessary to develop safe and trustworthy artificial intelligence.

Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Sen. Todd Young of Indiana, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

“AI offers incredible possibilities for our country, but access to the high-powered computational tools needed to conduct AI research is limited to only a few large technology companies. By establishing the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR), my bipartisan CREATE AI Act provides researchers from universities, nonprofits and government with the powerful tools necessary to develop cutting-edge AI systems that are safe, ethical, transparent and inclusive. Diversifying and expanding access to AI systems is crucial to maintain American leadership in frontier AI that will bolster our national security, enhance our economic competitiveness, and spur groundbreaking scientific research that benefits the public good,” Eshoo said. 

The CREATE AI Act establishes the NAIRR, which has four primary goals:

  1. Spur innovation and advance the development of safe, reliable, and trustworthy AI research and development.
  2. Improve access to AI resources for researchers and students, including groups typically underrepresented in STEM.
  3. Improve capacity for AI research in the United States.
  4. Support the testing, benchmarking, and evaluation of AI systems developed and deployed in the United States.

“To maintain United States leadership over our adversaries in technology, including AI, we must unleash the full potential of American innovation. The legislation will open up resources to allow more great American minds to work together to develop smart, safe, and secure AI,” McCaul said. “I’m proud to join my AI Caucus colleagues on this bill that will help protect our national security and maintain our nation’s competitive edge.”

The NAIRR will offer the following to researchers, educators and students at higher education institutions, non-profits and federally funded agencies:

  1. Computational resources, including an open-source software environment and a programming interface providing structured access to AI models.
  2. Data, including curated datasets of user interest and an AI data commons.
  3. Educational tools and services, including educational materials, technical training, and user support.
  4. AI testbeds, including a catalog of open AI testbeds and a collaborative project with the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

“This bill would provide a fantastic resource for researchers, educators, and even students like me to learn how to use artificial intelligence and have access to high-quality, well-sourced data. This bill also builds off the National Secure Data Service pilot that I was proud to secure as part of the CHIPS & Science Act, passed last year,” Beyer said. “I am thrilled to be part of its bipartisan, bicameral introduction, and look forward to seeing the increased access to high-tech resources that the CREATE AI Act will provide.”

Eshoo introduced the bipartisan NAIIR Task Force Act in 2020, which was made law in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act and established a task force to develop a detailed roadmap for the development of a national AI resource for AI research and convened a group of technical experts across academia, government, and industry to develop a detailed roadmap for how the U.S. can build, deploy, govern and sustain a national research cloud and associated research resources. The NAIRR Task Force released its final report in January 2023 with a roadmap for standing up a national research infrastructure that would broaden access to the resources essential to AI research and development. The CREATE AI Act implements many of the recommendations of the NAIRR Task Force.

“The best way to enable America to lead the way in the AI revolution is to ensure that both students and entrepreneurs have access to the tools needed to test, develop, and create new AI-backed technologies,” Obernolte said. “Our CREATE AI Act, and the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource it creates, will extend that ability beyond big technology companies, helping America’s small-tech innovators better create technology that improves the lives of all Americans.”

According to Heinrich, AI will be consequential for the U.S.

“If we develop and deploy this technology responsibly, it can help us augment our human creativity and make major scientific advances, while also preparing American workers for the jobs of the future. If we don’t, it could threaten our national security, intellectual property, and civil rights. The bipartisan CREATE AI Act will help us weigh these challenges and unleash American innovation by making the tools to conduct important research on this cutting-edge technology available to the best and brightest minds in our country. It will also help us prepare the future AI workforce, not just for Silicon Valley companies, but for the many industry sectors that will be transformed by AI. By truly democratizing and expanding access to AI systems, we can maintain our nation’s competitive lead while ensuring these rapid advancements are a benefit to our society and country — not a threat,” Heinrich said.

The CREATE AI Act has support from key AI community stakeholders, including Microsoft, TechNet, the National Science Foundation (NSF), Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), Anthropic, NewMexico.AI and SeedAI.

“Artificial intelligence is already integrated into nearly every facet of our lives. Recent major leaps in innovation provide great promise, but also have caused some to highlight potential risks to society. The United States cannot cede leadership in AI development, and we must harness the great potential the technology offers in order to reap its benefits and combat any potential risks. The CREATE AI Act will help us do that by establishing the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) to democratize AI safety research and serve as a testbed for the development and implementation of innovative AI practices,” Young said.


Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.