May 22, 2022

Research/Reference: New From GAO: “Artificial Intelligence: Emerging Opportunities, Challenges, and Implications for Policy and Research”

Artificial Intelligence: Emerging Opportunities, Challenges, and Implications for Policy and Research was published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on June 26, 2018.

The document features the testimony of Timothy M. Persons, Chief Scientist Applied Research and Methods, GAO,  before the Subcommittees on Research and Technology and Energy, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, House of Representatives.

From the Highlights:

Forum participants noted a range of opportunities and challenges related to AI, as well as areas needed for future research and for consideration by policymakers. Regarding opportunities, investment in automation through AI technologies could lead to improvements in productivity and economic outcomes, according to a forum participant. AI can also be used to gather an enormous amount of data from multiple sources and detect abnormalities faster than humans can, and it could be used to help solve some of the world’s most complex and pressing problems. The participants also highlighted a number of challenges related to AI. For example, if the data used by AI are biased or become corrupted by hackers, the results could be biased or cause harm. The collection and sharing of data needed to train AI systems, a lack of access to computing resources, and adequate human capital are also challenges facing the development of AI. Furthermore, the widespread adoption of AI raises questions about the adequacy of current laws and regulations. Finally, participants noted the need to develop and adopt an appropriate ethical framework to govern the use of AI in research.


After considering the benefits and challenges of AI, forum participants highlighted several policy issues they believe require further attention. In particular, they emphasized the need for policymakers to explore ways to (1) incentivize data sharing, (2) improve safety and security, (3) update the regulatory approach that will affect AI, and (4) assess acceptable levels of risk and ethical considerations. As policymakers explore these and other implications, they will be confronted with fundamental tradeoffs, according to forum participants. As such, participants highlighted several areas related to AI they believe warrant further research, including (1) establishing experimental safe havens where AI products can be tested; (2) developing high-quality labeled data, (3) understanding the implications of AI on training and education for jobs of the future, and (4) exploring computational ethics and explainable AI.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.