The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has received 491 comments on its recent request for information (RFI) – including from tech giant Google and think tank Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) – to help inform an upcoming National AI Strategy.

OSTP’s May 23 RFI called for insight on how Federal agencies can leverage generative AI tools to improve service delivery. OSTP also asked for examples of the “highest priority and most cost-effective ways” to leverage AI, and input on the “unique opportunities and risks” of agencies using generative AI tools. The public comment period closed on July 7.

According to comments submitted to the White House last week, tech behemoths Google and IBM are pushing for the Federal government to take a more active role in promoting AI innovation and transparency, and strongly oppose the creation of a new single AI “super regulator.”

The companies reiterated their support for flexible risk-based AI regulatory frameworks like the National Institutes of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) AI Risk Management Framework and called for its full implementation.

“IBM urges the Administration to adopt a ‘precision regulation’ posture towards AI. This means establishing rules to govern the technology’s deployment in specific use-cases, not regulating the technology itself,” the company said in its comments submitted to OSTP on July 7.

“The Federal Government has a deep bench of domain expertise across existing regulatory agencies in those verticals that may be substantively impacted by AI applications – expertise that runs the gamut from finance and health to transportation and consumer protection,” the tech giant added. “We recommend that the Administration support an approach to regulating AI that prioritizes empowering every agency to be an AI agency.”

Google focused most of its comments on the need to create a robust Federal AI workforce, calling on policymakers to broaden the talent pipeline. The search giant also called on Congress to authorize and fund a National AI Research Resource Center.

In its comments, Google pushed for the White House to establish an AI competitiveness council – dubbed the National AI Security and Competitiveness Council – to assess AI research and development (R&D) gaps.

Global trade tech association Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) also submitted comments to OSTP last week, and called for NIST to be at the forefront of AI regulatory technical standards. The organization said it’s critical that Congress address AI workforce gaps by taking appropriate steps to improve STEM education at all levels.

D.C.-based think tank BPC noted the importance of workforce diversification when it comes to AI. Specifically, the organization called on Congress to reform immigration policies to encourage high-skilled STEM workers to stay in the United States.

“Every year, U.S. universities graduate thousands of students with the skills needed to maintain our technology edge, but they do not provide a path to stay in the United States with those skills,” the company said. “BPC encourages Congress and the executive branch to prioritize immigration reform to meet the demand for workers in STEM.”

The RFI was one of three efforts the Biden-Harris administration announced in late May that aim to advance the research, development, and deployment of responsible AI.

The White House also released an updated National AI R&D Strategic Plan as well as a new report by the Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology on the risks and opportunities related to AI in education.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.