Building a More Public AI Ecosystem

August 14, 2024 at the Library of Congress (with an evening reception on August 13)

An invitation-only gathering to strengthen and spark new collaborations across the public sector, academia, and civil society to build a public AI ecosystem that benefits the American public.

Across the government, many efforts are already underway to put AI to work to positively impact the American public, from the AI Executive Order to the National AI Research Resource Pilot. Building on this momentum, this event brings together leaders from the public sector, academia, and civil society to lay a foundation for viable public alternatives and complements to private AI systems.

The event will be organized around three core pillars, each intended to produce a concrete output.

  • What do we mean by public AI? How does it compare to other forms of AI such as national AI, open source AI, or democratic AI? The output of this pillar will be a draft definition and report on public AI in the US.
  • How do we build public AI? How can we grow an ecosystem for public AI? What is the practical path by which AI systems can be developed to serve the public interest? What are the necessary building blocks, and how do we combine them together in an public and accountable ecosystem? The output of this pillar will be an actionable technical roadmap towards more public AI in the US public sector, along with practical recommendations for deployment.
  • Who will build public AI? What different skills and stakeholders will need to be involved in to build safe and responsible AIs? The specific output of this pillar will be a network of public AI practitioners and researchers.

Other topics to be covered in the workshop include current national initiatives and approaches such as AuroraGPT; the translation of AI research in public labs into public services; practical questions of governance, auditing, assessment, and access; bias and risk; best-practices in engaging the private sector; legal liability; and similar initiatives planned in individual states and in other countries.

Speakers will be announced in late July.

While there are many conferences and workshops on AI, this gathering is specifically tailored for individuals and organizations dedicated to leveraging AI for the public interest. Compared to commercial events designed to help vendors pitch products to public sector professionals, this workshop will focus on sharing information and connecting individuals across agencies and organizations. Our hope is that by bringing together public sector agencies, civil society, and academia, we can begin to foster a wider AI ecosystem based around the public sector and the public interest.

This event is co-hosted by the Library of Congress, Aspen Digital, and the Public AI Network. We are grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation and Patrick J. McGovern Foundation for their support of this initiative. We believe this event will be considered a widely-attended event in compliance with House and Senate ethics rules.