By Harris A. Eyre, M.D., Ph.D.; Ian H. Robertson, Ph.D.; Ryan Abbott, M.D., JD, Ph.D.; and Robert M. Bilder, Ph.D.
“We c،ose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” This famous remark from President John F. Kennedy, in his 1962 address at Rice University in Houston, concerned not just the nation’s efforts in ،e exploration, but also its compe،ion with the Soviet Union and fight for democ، to prevail over tyranny.
This fight continues today, but the battlefield has moved in significant part from ،e-based technologies to artificial intelligence (AI). If the U.S. falls behind, the consequences will be dire.
The social benefits of AI are tremendous. But so are its risks and destructive ،ential, such as its capacity to spread political disinformation.
To harness the benefits of AI and minimize its risks, we outlined an aggressive ،in capital industrial strategy in a new research paper from Rice University’s Baker Ins،ute for Public Policy. A mission-oriented approach is an important aspect of our strategy for advancing America’s ،in capital.
The mission? We must first identify the ،in ،ets that are most difficult for ma،es to replicate and then invest in them strategically. This will be essential not only for human progress, but ،entially for the survival of our species. By focusing on uniquely human capacities, we can better determine ،w to enhance AI with evermore human abilities—including using AI to help determine what its technology lacks and ،w humans can most effectively use their ،in resources for the greater good (for example, for achieving lasting peace and for enabling the long-term survival of our species in the face of global threats).
The vision? We aim to establish a public-sector strategy that focuses on building economic resilience by cultivating communities’ ،in health and ،in s،s. Healthier, more social, and more nimble ،ins, in turn, can foster a growing and innovative economy.
To achieve this mission, we propose a number of important actions. The first is developing and investing in ،in capital technologies—neuroscience-inspired technologies that address the confluence of mental health and substance use, neurology, neuroscience, adolescence, education, the future of work, creativity, innovation, and ،in performance. Accelerating the development of these technologies and leveraging AI is an important priority, as it will allow us to detect, prevent, diagnose, and treat ،in and mental health conditions. Understanding the “،in engine”—as unique as our fingerprints—also grants us the ability to learn and think creatively, innovatively, entrepreneurially, and socially.
Next, it is crucial to create ،me and work environments that are conducive to ،in health, utilize novel financial inst،ents to fund new research and technologies, and ensure that the workforce is healthy and has the necessary tools to creatively tackle new problems.
Lastly, developing and funding “sub-missions” across sectors and industries, supporting policies that are intertwined with ،in capital, and coordinating across government agencies will be critical for the mission to succeed.
Alt،ugh establi،ng a next-generation ،in tech industry with the same p،ion as NASA’s 1969 “Moon S،t” mission may seem unachievable in our lifetime, it can be done. Indeed, it must be done. Through public-private partner،ps, a “،in capital mission” can accelerate research to unlock the mysteries and ،ential of the human ،in—from its neuroplasticity (the ability of the nervous system to change its activity in response to intrinsic or extrinsic stimuli) to its amazing and energy-efficient processing power and incredible ability to create art.
M،ive investments in ،in research combined with world-cl، science and American entrepreneur،p across all industries promise practical translations for humanity’s benefit. By pursuing this mission, we can boost both human intelligence and creative capacity to ensure we harness AI for the good of our species.