How to maximize AI's potential for government

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COMMENTARY | Invest, innovate and evolve to meet this critical moment to harness the productive potential of artificial intelligence.

With AI surging, and more than 60 new governments set to take office and implement policy frameworks in 2024, we’ve arrived at an era-defining moment. Decision-makers have an opportunity to steer the course of AI and harness its impacts for citizens and industries worldwide.  

To grasp this opportunity, policymakers should adopt three key steps to forge a pathway for AI that will positively serve societies: invest, innovate and evolve. 

As policymakers decide how to govern AI, striking a balance between innovation and safety, while ensuring access through effective infrastructure and investment planning will be paramount.  

I consistently hear from customers that they want to accelerate AI adoption and scale it for more efficient operations. To accomplish this, organizations need:  

  1. Greater compute access, a robust infrastructure network and skilled talent. 
  2. Guardrails to drive safety, without compromising speed or innovation. 
  3. Flexibility to develop solutions while complying with regulations. 

By making the right strategic decisions today, we can build a future-proof AI ecosystem that addresses these challenges and take advantage of the potential $15.7 trillion AI will bring to the global economy that will define future generations and tackle significant social inequalities and industry challenges like energy resourcing, computing power, connectivity, accessibility, and safety.  

We stand ready to support policymakers and together shape a safe, innovative, and inclusive future for AI guided by our three-step Invest, Innovate and Evolve framework.  

Invest in an infrastructure-first approach

 The race to invest in AI will continue as governments and companies prioritize adoption. With this global investment like the commitments in the Senate’s AI Roadmap, governments need to drive efficiency and savings to support investment in modern infrastructure and national development. OpenAI’s call to raise $7 trillion to build an AI megaproject demonstrates the scale of funding needed. Realizing AI’s full potential will require substantial investment to help address chip resourcing, compute power, data storage, and energy efficiency. AI is the most intensive and demanding technology we’ve seen; sustainable investments should be at the forefront. AI infrastructure with energy-efficient hardware, green energy sources, alongside the responsible retirement of old or obsolete systems can optimize performance while protecting the environment. 

Through multi-sector collaboration, and a focused government-level AI strategy, a strong handle on current infrastructure capabilities can be determined.

We also need a skilled workforce to drive these applications. It’s positive to see the emphasis on AI skills by governments like the US’ commitment to ‘grow the AI workforce’ and the EU’s AI Factory initiative. At Dell, we are focused on upskilling our team members and working with companies like Intel and NVIDIA to help train and drive access for all.    

Getting funding and investments right will make incredible things happen. We know sectors like healthcare, sciences, manufacturing and others can benefit from AI.

Innovation-focused regulation will drive safety and human progress

Beyond the infrastructural backbone required for AI, another key element for success is regulation that balances safety without compromising innovation. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. 

Governments should take a balanced approach to regulation while assessing as many applications of AI as possible. In our recent survey of global business decision-makers and ICT professionals, 38% of respondents said they are not completely excited about AI due to a lack of security and data privacy protections.  

Therefore, balancing innovation and safety is key. In an increasingly fragmented developmental and regulatory space, collaboration is paramount to ensure we are applying the right levers at the right moment.  

Evolving policy collaboration within a thriving open AI ecosystem  

The unparalleled pace of AI’s immersion into the public sphere is only the beginning.

AI policies should be agile from the outset and allow for regular evaluation and re-alignment to meet the technology’s growth and progress. The EU’s AI Act commits to this approach (via annual evaluations []). Global policymakers should take analogous steps and adopt policies with similar mechanisms from inception.  

A shared approach to policy and collaborative international frameworks are also key to prevent regulatory fragmentation. While some claim governments are struggling to deploy and manage the risks of AI models, bilateral agreements on AI safety and innovation – such as the U.S. and U.K. AI Safety Institutes – are a welcome step towards harmonization.