[SIGCIS-Members] Historians of technology - seeking your thoughts on US AI policy

Jonathan Coopersmith j-coopersmith at tamu.edu
Sun Jun 18 15:25:10 PDT 2023

Dear colleagues,

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) request for
input to develop a National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy
offers historians of technology an opportunity to offer historically
grounded suggestions for contemporary government policy.  With a submission
deadline of July 7, we need to move quickly.

What follows is an experiment, not a set blueprint.  Please freely comment
about procedure as well as content.  I propose two lines of action: people
responding individually and working together to submit responses.  My focus
is the latter.

The request has 29 questions, divided into five areas:

  Protecting rights, safety, and national security

  Advancing equity and strengthening civil rights

  Bolstering democracy and civic participation

  Promoting economic growth and good jobs

  Innovating in public services

OSTP is limiting a response to ten pages (excluding references), thus
encouraging respondents to establish their priorities using their expertise
and assessment of the questions’ importance.  The questions ask whether the
diffusion of AI can help or hurt the United States in those areas both in
general and for specific subsectors.  Historical experience -- such as the
(uneven) diffusion of the Internet, of electrification, of transportation
technologies; redlining; and access to financing  – can shape our

I suggest organizing to

- discuss what questions are the highest priorities

- form subgroups to focus on those questions

- critique and edit suggestions

- submit responses by July 7

If you are interested, please respond to this email or contribute to a Google
All responses to the OSTP request will be publicly available (which creates
an opportunity for more research – see below).  We can use Google Docs and
zoom to communicate and coordinate.

I encourage thinking about publishing your responses in other venues (such
as theconversation.com, History News Network) to reach wider audiences.

Future research:  After July 7, all the submitted responses will be
publicly available.  That will be an opportunity to analyze the perceptions
of the respondents about AI.

Thank you for considering this opportunity.  The attached file contains
this letter and the 29 questions.

Stay sane,


Jonathan Coopersmith
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Professor Emeritus
Department of History
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX  77843-4236
979.739.4708 (cell)

"Technological obsolescence,
National Academy of Engineering *Perspectives* May 23, 2023

It's taking longer to vote - especially if you are Black or Hispanic
, theconversation.com

Preserving space archives:  https://www.toboldlypreserve.space/

*FAXED.  The Rise and Fall of the Fax Machine* (Johns Hopkins University
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