SCSP Releases Special Edition Report
Generative AI: The Future of Innovation Power
Hello, I’m Ylli Bajraktari, CEO of the Special Competitive Studies Project. In this edition of 2-2-2, we share a summary of SCSP’s new report, “Generative AI: The Future of Innovation Power.”
Today, we published our report entitled, "Generative AI: The Future of Innovation Power." This report is more than just an academic exercise; it serves as a strategic compass for navigating the complex terrain of artificial intelligence. Specifically, it includes targeted memos directed at both the President and Congress, examining the near-term implications of Generative AI (GenAI) for our nation.
Rather than add to the hype surrounding GenAI, these memos include sober analysis and robust policy recommendations crafted to provide a blueprint for adapting to our rapidly changing technological environment. These recommendations reflect a multidisciplinary approach, drawing upon insights from industry leaders, academics, and policymakers.
Why is this moment so critical? We find ourselves at a technological crossroads that is unlike any other in human history. The decisions we make today concerning GenAI will echo in the decades to come, impacting everything from healthcare and education to job markets and international diplomacy. This moment provides the United States government with a unique opportunity to lead with conviction as humanity enters a new era.
The GenAI moment demands a sense of urgency and consequence. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that the ongoing AI revolution aligns with our democratic values and promotes global freedoms, given the profound implications of this technology for our national security and society. We firmly believe that the insights and recommendations within this report can serve as a foundational guide for U.S. policymakers to lead with conviction and strategic vision. As we step into this transformative new era, let us be the ones to set the course, balancing the incredible potential of GenAI with its ethical and practical considerations.
We hope that this will begin a meaningful dialogue and inspire informed action from our nation's leaders.
GenAI, unique from the technological revolutions preceding it, is changing the very nature of innovation. The first nation to master this step change will unlock a new form of soft and hard power – innovation power – by which military capabilities, economic prosperity, and cultural influence can be forged. The U.S. government needs to come together to organize, drive, and fuel the U.S. innovation ecosystem with empowered, tech-focused institutions; audacious moonshots; and new resources to convert its current technological edge into long-term advantage for the era of GenAI.
The governance landscape for GenAI is being shaped by two contrasting timelines: GenAI development is progressing rapidly, while AI governance is moving slowly. The need for AI governance is urgent because of the rapid societal uptake of GenAI and the imminent and pressing threats that GenAI presents, such as accelerating the spread of disinformation. For the sake of America’s own democratic future, and given the global ideological contest over governance models, we must present the world with a democratic model for GenAI governance worthy of emulation, one that reaps the benefits of GenAI while also protecting our societies from the worst potential harms.
GenAI will have a transformative impact on the global economy. Nations that harness the potential of GenAI will increase productivity, a key economic measure that underpins economic growth, higher standards of living, and the ability to finance all other national priorities. Unlocking these benefits requires boosting competitiveness across the fundamental building blocks that underpin AI leadership: compute, data, and people. Compute is the engine that powers GenAI training and inference. Data serves as the fuel, but competitiveness hinges on digital infrastructure to move it from place to place, as well as a trusted regulatory framework that can ensure responsible use. Ultimately, people are the most important element for GenAI leadership. We must continue to attract the world’s top AI talent while unlocking opportunities for Americans to benefit from the Age of AI.
GenAI is transforming the global environment in which America’s diplomats operate and the tools with which they work. Success in the Age of AI requires the United States, with the Department of State in the lead, to implement a paradigm of “Platforms Statecraft” to ensure that our nation and our allies and partners can work together to support and promote our global technology platforms so that they underpin advantage in GenAI and other strategic technology areas. Simultaneously, the Department of State should adopt new tools that capitalize on GenAI’s transformative power in executing its mission. Finally, the Department of State should lead an international effort to design and organize multiple layers of international regimes, institutions, and dialogues to mitigate GenAI’s high-consequence risks and support the broadest possible positive-sum applications that GenAI offers.
America’s advances in generative artificial intelligence present the Department of Defense (DoD) with a crucial opportunity to accelerate two of its most significant transformations – preparing for the future character of conflict and strengthening our military overmatch against our rivals, especially the People’s Republic of China. The establishment of Task Force Lima on August 10, 2023, was a critical recognition of the importance of this moment by DoD. We propose that the Task Force prioritize four critical areas in integrating generative AI across DoD: enabling decisional advantage, enhancing operations, developing talent, and identifying new defensive measures.
Furthermore and mindful that advances in generative AI will continue to accelerate in the near-term, we also recommend that the Department: 1) create a Defense Experimentation Unit to provide for much-needed operational experimentation and iteration with AI models; 2) build an Automated Orchestration Platform – a generative AI-powered interface that can call up relevant tools and datasets, can decompose the queries into discrete tasks, and semi-autonomously or autonomously complete tasks; and 3) develop defense-tailored generative AI models, trained on specific military information, terms, and jargon.
Rapid advancements in GenAI, and AI more broadly, make it clear we are on the threshold of the next era of intelligence, one that will be defined by how well intelligence services leverage AI tools to collect, sift, and analyze global data flows to generate insight and deliver effects. The U.S. Intelligence Community should take immediate action to leverage these emerging capabilities to protect the nation and maintain our competitive advantage over the PRC.