In a wide-ranging study of the potential impact of artificial intelligence, the Obama administration concluded that the rapidly evolving technology holds great promise but also requires strong vigilance.

“In the coming years, A.I. will continue contributing to economic growth and will be a valuable tool for improving the world in fields as diverse as health care, transportation, the environment, criminal justice, and economic inclusion,” wrote the authors of the report. “The Administration believes that it is critical that industry, civil society, and government work together to develop the positive aspects of the technology, manage its risks and challenges, and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to help in building an A.I.-enhanced society and to participate in its benefits.”

Commissioned earlier this year, the 58-page report was released one day before the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh that will explore the implications of A.I.

The report, dubbed “Preparing for the future of Artificial Intelligence,” highlights a number of areas of both opportunity and concern when it comes to A.I. These include:

  • The need to adjust regulatory procedures to account for A.I.
  • Better coordination and funding of government-led A.I. research initiatives.
  • Further study and monitoring of the economic impact of A.I. on jobs.
  • “Ethical training” of people in A.I. fields, particularly as the technology is used to control more real-world objects that could lead to concerns about safety and security.
  • Creating a clear U.S. policy regarding the development and use of “Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems.”

Still, despite some ominous signals, the report maintained an overall positive tone with regard to A.I.

“A.I. holds the potential to be a major driver of economic growth and social progress, if industry, civil society, government, and the public work together to support development of the technology with thoughtful attention to its potential and to managing its risks,” says the study.

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