The term Artificial Intelligence was first coined in the 1950s when it was primarily a theoretical construct. The long road to today’s applications reflects the catching up of capability with the vision of 70 years ago. The present breakthroughs are the result of combining learning neural networks with access to large amounts of data, leading to the impressive developments of deep learning.
As the final report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) states, “forecasting the future of AI is difficult…….with a remarkable increase of investments in the global AI industry over the past five years and an unprecedented amount of general R&D dollars being invested worldwide, there is no slowdown in sight – only new horizons for deployed AI.”
It has become evident that AI technologies will change many if not all aspects of life. The adoption of AI will require human beings to adapt, affecting their daily life and their workplace. Although the intentions are good, the results may be problematic, such as the issues arising from the application of face recognition technologies (which suffer from biases.) Based on the history of technology, it can be predicted that societies and countries lagging behind in adopting advancements will lose even further ground.
The global race is extremely competitive with the gap between the forerunners rapidly closing. This is perceived as a threat to national security, causing countries to consider the issue of investing in AI technologies as they have looked at the investment in weapon systems. However, there is one big difference: the technologies are more accessible and until now, the non-defense sectors lead in the development and application of AI.
In June 2021, new legislation was introduced in the U.S. Congress by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV), calling for the formation of a U.S.-Israel Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Center, “to maintain our technological edge and enhance our competitiveness, the United States must act now to rapidly field AI systems. As the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence rightly points out, leveraging allied innovation advantages is critical to winning the AI era” (Senator Rosen).
Recently, in September 2021, a similar bill was introduced in the House by Representatives Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Grace Meng (D-NY), Dean Phillips (D-MN), and Mike Waltz (R-FL). “Partnering with Israel and developing an Artificial Intelligence Research Center will help our generation lead in R&D globally. By investing in the technologies of the future with our allied partners, we can build an economy that prepares us to tackle the challenges of the next generation” (Congressman Auchincloss).
The language of the bills provide a list of AI topics, including machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and others. The topics also include model explainability and interpretability.
In Israel, two important reports are very relevant to the proposed U.S.-Israel AI Center. The first one is a report produced by a committee on AI-led by Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel and Prof. Eviatar Matania entitled: “The National Initiative for Secured Intelligent Systems to Empower the National Security and Techno-Scientific Resilience: A National Strategy for Israel” (September 2020). The second report is by a committee appointed by the TELEM Forum for National Research and Development Infrastructure, led by Dr. Orna Berry, entitled “Committee on Artificial Intelligence and Data Science” (March 2021).
The implementation of the proposed U.S.-Israel AI R&D Center will attract the best talent to engage the escalating AI global competition. For the U.S. and Israel, joining forces in the development of advanced AI technologies and applications is a natural extension of their established partnership, as has previously occurred in other areas of strategic importance for both countries.