The AMIA Says the Government Should Stay on Track on AI Investment


Artificial intelligence has already impacted the health sector in many ways and aims to continue during the upcoming years.  However, as the debate goes on whether society should continue to move forward with AI or slow down its pace, one group is weighing in their feelings on this matter.  According to the AMIA, their message to the government and President Trump is to stay on course with AI investment instead of starting from scratch.


The Importance of Further Research and Development of AI

According to a recent article in Healthcare IT News, the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) is requesting Trump’s administration to stay with the current federal strategy regarding research and development with artificial intelligence instead of starting from scratch.  Another request is for investing further into studying AI’s far-reaching societal implications as well as legal and ethical questions on how humans may be impacted rather than focusing only on consumer applications.

Comments made by AMIA are the result of the administration putting out an RFI that asks whether an update is needed on the 2015 National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan.  The plan designed during the Obama-era put forth strategies of federal R and D in artificial intelligence as well as recommendations for an implementation framework plus plans for sustaining research done by a workforce.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration had launched a committee on AI under the National Science and Technology Council that was created to coordinate federal funding and research while ensuring that the United States will be at the forefront of artificial intelligence development.

Moving Forward with AI Research and Development

While administrations have come and gone as technology continues to evolve, AMIA says that the plan in 2016 is still relevant as it represents data science professionals and informatics across healthcare.  AMIA commented to the White House that “the 2016 Plan articulated a vision that must be implemented, and the Select Committee should have a framework to understand how federal investments in AI R&D have aligned with the 2016 Plan since its release, as well as how such investments should be modified moving forward.”


The informatics group also commented that federal research needed to do more in exploring the potential malicious utilization of artificial intelligence.  The group pointed out that similar areas were explored according to a report from the House earlier in the fall that noted “the possibility that a malicious goal may be built into an AI program, leading it to make subtle undermining decisions is of a different nature and should remain a source of concern.”

This encouraged the focus of the new Select Committee on workforce development on promoting the general-purpose experts in artificial intelligence and those who have expertise in certain areas, such as healthcare, pointing out that the most fruitful research “will come from those scientists who are knowledgeable in specific domains and are able to make appropriate decisions about how to apply their craft.”

AMIA made reference to separate federal studies, such as the NIH Data Science Strategic Plan, which was a JASON report on artificial intelligence from 2017 in healthcare, as proof that better coordination could be improved among the many departments that research AI.


The group noted that with regards to healthcare, the stakes run high about how AI will work alongside humans and how it will be deployed.  AMIA said that “There is surely no better example of a scientific discipline so enmeshed with and influenced by the human condition.  Questions regarding how clinicians interact with AI or how AI will influence clinical decision-making, represent daunting challenges for which federal R&D funding should be leveraged.”     

Finally, AMIA added that “AMIA believes that when applied to the broad domains of health and healthcare, AI should: facilitate discovery and translation of research findings; deliver insights to improve patient outcomes; manage and prevent disease; reduce clinician and researcher burdens; and increase value (lower costs) associated with the research enterprise and healthcare delivery system.  However, these goals will not be realized without an educated and trained workforce.”