U.S. government falling behind on artificial intelligence funding -report

WASHINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - U.S. government funding in artificial intelligence has fallen short and the country needs to invest in research, train an AI-ready workforce and apply the technology to national security missions, an independent government-commissioned panel said in an interim report on Monday.

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) said it believes the U.S. government still confronts enormous work before it can transition AI from “a promising technological novelty into a mature technology integrated into core national security missions.”

The commission thinks an allied effort on AI in the realm of national security is important, Robert Work, vice chairman of the NSCAI and a former deputy secretary of defense, told reporters. The NSCAI has spoken with Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and the European Union, Work said.

China is investing more than the United States in artificial intelligence, said the report, which referred to the Asian nation more than 50 times.

“China takes advantage of the openness of U.S. society in numerous ways - some legal, some not - to transfer AI know-how,” the report said.

It also highlights the under-investment in the Department of Defense’s technology infrastructure.

“AI is only as good as the infrastructure behind it. Within DoD in particular this infrastructure is severely underdeveloped.”

Last month, the Pentagon awarded a controversial cloud computing contract to Microsoft, a step that it hopes will advance infrastructure at the Pentagon. The final report from the commission will be ready in about a year and will be delivered to the U.S. government in March 2021, the commission said. (Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin and Nandita Bose; Additional reporting by Mike Stone Editing by Paul Simao)