White House OSTP’s Michael Kratsios Keynote on AI Next Steps

Michael Kratsios, Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Policy
OECD Forum and Ministerial Council Meeting
May 21, 2019

Key Quotes

“It is no surprise that the wide range of countries within the OECD would have differences in their approach to technology policy. That is why the OECD AI Recommendations are truly a testament to our countries’ commitment to innovative and trustworthy AI on behalf of our citizens. Together we will advance AI with strength, speed, and purpose.”

“Together, we call on every nation that shares our values to join with us to develop AI and make our countries stronger, the world safer, and our people more prosperous and free.”


Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you. I am absolutely thrilled to be here in Paris with the world’s preeminent tech policy experts, economists, and government officials who are devoted to advancing artificial intelligence.

I want to express my warmest greetings from the United States and the Trump Administration. We always remain ready and willing to work with our closest allies. Our bonds are strengthened by mutual respect, common values, and a firm desire to do what is right for the citizens of each of our nations.

We arrived in Paris about a week ago for the G7 Meetings, and we are so encouraged by the robust and enthusiastic conversations surrounding AI on the international stage.

The people in this room are united in our hope for the future, and the rise of artificial intelligence presents amazing opportunities for us all. The United States firmly believes that AI will have a positive, meaningful impact on our world. We will have more breakthroughs in health care, stronger national security, faster transportation, more effective education, and revitalized industries offering good-paying jobs.

In recent months, the nations of the OECD came together to create principles for the innovative, safe, and trustworthy development and deployment of artificial intelligence. Tomorrow, we will unveil the OECD Recommendations on AI, and for the first time in history, America and likeminded democracies of the world will commit to common AI principles reflecting our shared values and priorities.

These principles send a strong message: The OECD countries stand together in unleashing AI innovation, understanding that it is an essential tool to drive economic growth, empower workers, and lift up quality of life for all.

Importantly, the recommendations take a holistic approach to AI, with a strong emphasis on international, cross-cutting collaboration among governments, the private sector, and academia woven throughout.

It calls for flexible, light touch policy environments that support basic AI research and development, and encourage innovation and competition. It underscores the importance of open data sets that enable top-notch AI research and expertise, and stresses preparing the AI workforce of the future through lifelong education and training.

And, it reaffirms a commitment to strengthen public trust, protect civil liberties, and remain true to democratic principles—the principles of freedom, the rule of law, privacy, respect for intellectual property, free, fair, and reciprocal markets, and the inherent dignity of the individual.

The United States has long welcomed the work of the OECD to develop AI principles. Across multiple G7 and OECD fora, we worked closely with our strong international partners to advance discussions and draft the principles you will see tomorrow.

The United States believes the OECD works best when its initiatives take advantage of its fact finding analytical research capabilities, and convenes multistakeholders that bring different perspectives to the table.

Increasing research and development around challenging issues before suggesting regulatory action is foundational to our AI agenda at The White House. Since the early days of the Trump Administration, the U.S. tech and innovation policy agenda has centered around advancing our leadership in the Industries of the Future. We focused on several key emerging technologies, with artificial intelligence at the forefront, and developed a robust policy approach prioritizing innovation and free markets.

First and foremost, we believe that government cannot achieve our technology policy goals by acting alone. Our unique innovation ecosystem harnesses the combined strengths of government, industry, and academia, and uniquely positions us to leverage AI and emerging technologies for the good of the American people. We will continue to examine new ways to enhance public-private partnerships as well as international science and technology collaborations.

We also encourage removing regulatory obstacles to discovery and innovation, ensuring all Americans realize the full potential of emerging technologies. We must ensure our scientists, researchers, and technologists have the freedom to do what they do best – innovate, create, and push the bounds of our technological capabilities. Government should only serve to enable our brightest minds, not weigh them down.

At the same time, we recognize that with any new technological tool comes both opportunities and challenges.

But we firmly believe that a rush to impose onerous and duplicative regulations will only cede our competitive edge to authoritarian governments who do not share our same values.

We also would stand to stifle innovation and prevent emerging technologies from ever getting off the ground. We must avoid the unintended consequence of repressing AI’s benefits and speculating too much on perceived harms that have not come to fruition. We must craft our policy frameworks in proportion to AI’s effects—not based on fear, but rather on facts and clear evidence. And the only way we can gather that evidence is to allow innovation in the first place.

While we are here to celebrate the OECD efforts, I do want to give a quick mention to the American Artificial Intelligence Initiative.

Earlier this year, President Trump signed an Executive Order creating the American AI Initiative, the boldest action America has ever taken on artificial intelligence. This comprehensive national roadmap lays out specific directives for advancing AI. It prioritizes AI R&D across our government, unleashes AI data and resources, supports AI-related education and workforce opportunities, fosters AI trustworthiness, and promotes U.S. international engagement on AI. The Initiative also calls for AI to be developed in accordance with American ideals and values.

Those policies should sound familiar.  We are so pleased that the OECD AI Recommendations address so many of the issues which are being tackled by the American AI Initiative.

Given the diversity of statutory frameworks, regulatory approaches, and histories, it is no surprise that the wide range of countries within the OECD may have differences in their approach to technology policy. That is why the OECD AI Recommendations are truly a testament to our countries’ commitment to innovative and trustworthy AI on behalf of our citizens. Together we will advance AI with strength, speed, and purpose.

When the cellphone was first developed, we had no idea that years later it would be used to do so much more than simply make a phone call. The unforeseen potential benefits of AI—and the new technologies to be built upon it—cannot be understated.

The United States wants to work with you to build a future where artificial intelligence helps patients receive more accurate and comprehensive disease diagnosis; where senior citizens remain mobile and independent thanks to self-driving cars; and where drones conduct successful search and rescue missions using AI sensors.

We already see the incredible benefits to society from AI, and so many more possibilities are within our reach.

Thank you so much to the OECD and to everyone here today. Tomorrow, the United States and our great allies will take a historic step and commit to new international AI principles. Together, we call on every nation that shares our values to join with us to develop AI and make our countries stronger, the world safer, and our people more prosperous and free.

Thank you.


Official Bio

Michael Kratsios advises President Donald J. Trump on a broad range of technology policy issues and drives United States technology priorities and strategic initiatives.

Under his leadership, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy encourages the development of emerging technologies in the United States, empowers American companies to commercialize and adopt new technologies, and improves and expands access to the tools necessary for Americans to succeed in the 21st century economy. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is also responsible for aligning the development of new technologies with the Administration’s priorities, including standing up for the American worker, defending American innovations abroad, and protecting the safety and security of the American people.

Michael has had an integral role in the development and execution of the Trump Administration’s national technology initiatives in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 5G and broadband communications, autonomous vehicles, commercial drones, STEM education, and advanced manufacturing.

Michael has represented the United States as the Head of Delegation at multiple international fora, including the G7 Technology and Innovation Ministerials in Turin, Italy, and Montreal, Canada, and the G20 Digital Economy Ministerial in Salta, Argentina.

Prior to joining the White House, Michael was a Principal at Thiel Capital. Michael graduated from Princeton University and served as a Visiting Scholar at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.