The State Department has released its first Enterprise Artificial Intelligence Strategy, joining a broader government effort to harness the benefits of AI and while mitigating its risks.
The EAIS lists four department goals: leveraging secure AI infrastructure, fostering a culture that embraces AI technology, ensuring AI is applied responsibly, and innovating.
“AI, especially generative AI, serves as a transformational tool in our diplomatic arsenal,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “From citizen services to foreign policy analysis and even negotiation advantages, AI offers us an opportunity to enhance our efforts with original insights and beyond-human processing speed.”
This strategy strengthens and formalizes the department’s efforts to integrate AI into various applications, benefiting 80,000 personnel worldwide, including 270 diplomatic posts in 180 countries. The department’s Enterprise Governance Board, AI Steering Committee, Responsible AI Official and others will oversee ongoing AI strategy and execution.
AI can enhance the department’s language generation, translation, summarization, knowledge access, competitor analysis, information processing, and activity coordination capabilities.
Simultaneously, the department is addressing risk management, data and privacy protection and the prevention of biased outcomes. This involves prioritizing security, raising awareness of AI risks, implementing comprehensive departmentwide governance and responsible AI policies, and providing additional training.
“More than anything else, our task is to put forth and carry out a compelling vision for how to use technology in a way that serves our people, protects our interests, and upholds our democratic values,” Blinken said. “It’s not enough to highlight the horrors of techno-authoritarianism … We’ve also got to make the positive case for our own approach, and then we’ve got to deliver.”
The strategy document compares the impact of emergent AI to the birth of the internet decades earlier.
“An emerging ecosystem of artificial intelligence capabilities presents enormous opportunity,” according to the EAIS. “This opportunity can allow the Department to leverage AI to achieve breakthroughs of all kinds – in public diplomacy, language translation, management operations, information proliferation and dissemination, task automation, code generation, and others.”