A government commission is currently considering an innovation that could be as transformational for Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a hadron collider is for physics. It’s called a National Research Cloud, and right now the federal National AI Research Resource Task Force (NAIRR) is determining how we can develop such a cloud to broaden access to computing and data and spur basic and non-commercial AI research. At stake may be rates of investment in basic scientific research not seen since the days of the Cold War.
The concept is straightforward. The federal government will provide access to computing and data resources needed for AI research that are becoming increasingly inaccessible to academic scholars. The best way to broaden access requires the federal government funding credits for researchers to access existing cloud computing power in the short term while it builds public cloud computing options for long-term use.
Yet critics are attacking this idea from both sides, putting at risk the potential for substantial innovation.