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It’s mind-blowing how much world-shaping work that gets done in hotel ballrooms. Machine learning experts regularly gather at conferences around the world to discuss noteworthy work and how to move the industry forward. Few are fortunate enough to attend in person, but you can sometimes find video online.

The most recent example: The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) met in Hawaii last week, and among topics discussed was the roadmap for AI research in the United States for the next 20 years.

The process to create a plan for the next two decades started in November with private workshops attended by academics and people from industry. A draft of the report is due out later this month, and the final will come in April following a period of public comment.

A town hall gathering at AAAI gave the world its first glimpse of what the report will include. VentureBeat doesn’t typically write stories about a report whose draft hasn’t even been released yet, but we made an exception here because of the major implications it could have for the future.

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The priorities set in the report could shape government policy and funding, national security, and people’s personal lives through health care, personalized education, and evidence-based social policy.

It could even be a step toward the kind of national AI strategy former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reportedly urged President Trump to create.

Commissioned by the Computing Community Consortium and working with the National Science Foundation, organizers of the effort include Cornell University professor Bart Selman and Stanford University professor and former Google Cloud chief scientist Fei-Fei Li.

Major themes discussed in the town hall that may be part of the final report include:

  • Integration of key AI systems
  • Better understanding of human intelligence and emotion
  • Training robots to learn by example
  • How people interact with AI systems

Recommendations are still being gathered and refined but include:

  • An open national AI platform
  • Broaden AI education in high schools and colleges
  • Create contextually intelligent AI that act as a lifelong assistant

“If you want to do common sense knowledge, if you want to do true natural language semantics, you need a good knowledge base; a good, large knowledge graph in a sense, but the knowledge graph, for example, that Google is developing is in house and not accessible to academic research. So we need a very large, shared resource that will be developed across the country, then shared via some institute or center that would manage that,” Selman said about the idea of a national AI platform.

What surprised me watching the town hall was the number of times fundamental knowledge about people came up, things like understanding human intelligence. Also surprising was the number of times words like “trust” was used.

If you’re interested in taking a closer look at initial findings and workshop results, you can watch the town hall video or read through this CCC blog.

Stick with VentureBeat to hear the final recommendations and the challenges and opportunities researchers see for AI in the years ahead.

For AI coverage, send news tips to Khari Johnson and Kyle Wiggers — and be sure to bookmark our AI Channel.

Thanks for reading,

Khari Johnson
AI Staff Writer

P.S. Please enjoy this video exploring the history of artificial intelligence.

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