Calling All Robot Enthusiasts: The White House Wants Your Input

July 06, 2016

White House issues an RFI on the legal and governance implications of artificial intelligence.

On June 27, the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a Request For Information on Artificial Intelligence (RFI). The RFI seeks public input on the tools, technologies, and training needed to further research and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI).

More broadly, the RFI seeks input on the legal and ethical implications of these emergent technologies, including in the following areas:

  • Legal and governance implications of AI
  • Use of AI for public good
  • Safety and control issues for AI
  • Social and economic implications of AI
  • Pressing, fundamental questions in AI research common to most or all scientific fields
  • Important research gaps in AI that must be addressed to advance the field and benefit the public
  • Scientific and technical training needed to harness the potential of AI technology and challenges faced by institutions of higher education in retaining faculty and responding to explosive growth in student enrollment in AI-related studies
  • Specific steps that could be taken by the federal government, research institutes, universities, and philanthropies to encourage multidisciplinary AI research
  • Specific training data sets that could accelerate the development of AI and its application
  • The role that “market shaping” approaches (such as incentive prizes, Advanced Market Commitments, and accelerated training for low and moderate income workers) can play in accelerating the development of applications of AI to address societal needs
  • Additional information related to AI research or policymaking that should be considered

Public feedback on these important questions will enable the OSTP to develop guidance on how the law should balance AI’s potential benefits with its numerous threats. For example, self-driving cars could improve driving safety and provide mobility for people with disabilities. Likewise, the use of AI in healthcare has the potential to dramatically improve the quality and accuracy of medical care. At the same time, AI may introduce new risks that create challenges for companies—from ensuring against security breaches to managing the potential effects on jobs and certain sectors of the economy. Given the great heterogeneity of technologies under the broad umbrella of AI, it is likely that different industries will require different policy approaches.

The RFI from the White House reflects an acknowledgment that in developing future policy, careful consideration will be given to law, privacy, regulation, research and development, and security. The RFI is part of a broader effort by the White House to spur public dialogue on the opportunities and challenges surrounding AI. In addition to issuing the RFI, for example, the OSTP also recently established a National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to monitor technology advancements in AI and coordinate federal activity in this emerging space. Feedback from the RFI and the work of the NSTC Subcommittee may lead to the development of a public report addressing new frontiers in AI.

Response to the RFI

Responses to the White House RFI must be received by July 22, 2016. Morgan Lewis’s intellectual property, technology, and Washington strategic government relations lawyers have experience working with government entities on behalf of clients and would be happy to assist in coordinating a response.


If you would like assistance responding to the RFI or more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:

San Francisco
Brian C. Rocca

Silicon Valley
Michael J. Lyons

Santa Monica
Seth M. Gerber