A task force is studying the idea of opening a trove of government data to AI researchers, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Of foremost concern is releasing the data while protecting the privacy and anonymity of US citizens.
From the WSJ:
The Biden administration launched an initiative Thursday aiming to make more government data available to artificial intelligence researchers, part of a broader push to keep the U.S. on the cutting edge of the crucial new technology.
The National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force, a group of 12 members from academia, government, and industry led by officials from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation, will draft a strategy for creating an AI research resource that could, in part, give researchers secure access to stores of anonymous data about Americans, from demographics to health and driving habits.
“In order to investigate a lot of their really great ideas in AI, they need access to powerful computing infrastructure and they need access to data,” she said. Many researchers, particularly in academia, “simply don’t have access to these computational resources and data, and this is hampering innovation.”
One example: The Transportation Department has access to a set of data gathered from vehicle sensors about how people drive, said Erwin Gianchandani, senior adviser at the National Science Foundation and co-chairman of the new AI task force.
“Because you have very sensitive data about individuals, there are challenges in being able to make that data available to the broader research community,” he said. On the other hand, if researchers could get access, they could develop innovations designed to make driving safer.
Anonymous census, medical and other data could also potentially be made available for research by both private companies and academic institutions, officials said.