The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced a series of workshops on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and recognizing the opportunities and risks involved with this technology. The workshops will feed into a public report to be released later this year.

Breakthroughs in the AI field and the growing digital universe lead to a future of advanced machine learning and computers capable of intelligent behavior.

“The Federal government is also working to leverage AI for public good and toward a more effective government,” deputy U.S. chief technology officer Ed Felton said in a recent blog post.

Efforts will focus on improving the delivery of government services, encouraging agencies to “run pilot projects evaluating new AI-driven approaches and government investment in research on how to use AI to make government services more effective,” Felton wrote. Overall, agencies will look into how AI can make everyday life better for Americans.

The new National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is scheduled to meet for the first time next week. The group is set to “monitor state-of-the-art advances and technology milestones in artificial intelligence and machine learning within the Federal government…and help coordinate Federal activity in this space,” Felton wrote.

AI has the potential to set President Obama’s cancer “moon shot”–a presidential memorandum creating a cancer task force–in motion, changing the healthcare field as we know it.

Felton said AI will be used to “find patterns in medical data and ultimately, to help doctors diagnose diseases and suggest treatments to improve patient care and health outcomes.” Instead of treating every patient the same, AI can help doctors tailor their treatments.

This technology has the power to influence citizens beyond government. Teachers could customize lessons for individual students. Self-driving vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems can be perfected.

But machines can’t always be trusted. “AI systems can also behave in surprising ways,” Felton wrote, “and we’re increasingly relying on AI to advise decisions and operate physical and virtual machinery–adding to the challenge of predicting and controlling how complex technologies will behave.”

While AI has the potential to create new jobs, a plus for the economy, it can also phase out jobs that humans are no longer needed to complete.

OSTP is co-hosting workshops focused on the AI field to spark dialogue and address the challenges and opportunities this technology provides. The workshops are open to the public and will be livestreamed:


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