The National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act became law on the first day of 2021, opening a backdoor to America’s largest corporations to shield their commercial interests behind the full might of the US government.
Artificial intelligence has been touted as the next frontier in technological innovation by the world’s brightest minds and celebrity CEOs like Elon Musk, who predict a hyper-connected future where big data, smart infrastructure, and biology all fuse into what ‘futurist’ Ray Kurzweil and others call the technological singularity.
In his 1999 breakout best-seller titled ‘The Age of Spiritual Machines’, Kurzweil takes the concept first developed by mathematician Vernor Vinge about the merger of technology and human intelligence to an absurd conclusion based on a superficial understanding of mankind’s spiritual nature, in which machines achieve consciousness and co-exist side by side with living organisms in a bleak universe bereft of any connection to natural reality.
As we move into the second decade of the twenty-first century, the ideas Kurzweil brought into the mainstream are being aggressively pursued by Big Tech outfits like Google, which currently employs the author as a director of engineering, and have been enthusiastically embraced by important sectors of the global economy.
Reflecting this trend, the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act (NAIIA) became law on the first day of 2021, officially bringing the full power of the U.S. government to bear through the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Energy, whose already considerable spending on AI research and development has now been codified into law.
The passage of the bill follows a pattern begun in the Reagan years, when the Republican icon signed National Security Decision Directive NSDD 145 making intellectual property a matter of national security, effectively opening a backdoor to America’s largest corporations like IBM and Pfizer to shield their commercial interests behind the full might of the U.S. federal government.