Rep. Lucas cautions against rushing AI research


As Congress starts hearings into the U.S. development of semiconductor and artificial intelligence research, Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas had words of caution on Wednesday, telling a House committee hearing the “work should not be rushed at the expense of doing it right.”

Rep. Lucas made the remarks at the start of a hearing held by the House Science, Space and Technology Committee he chairs. The Committee hearing was on Examining NIST’s Priorities for 2025 and Beyond, and he emphasized the ongoing role of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and its importance of implementing crucial research and investments in the CHIPS and Science Act.

“The CHIPS and Science Act provided $50 billion in federal funding for the Department of Commerce to strengthen the U.S. position in semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing. NIST is home to the CHIPS Program Office and is responsible for overseeing how this funding is allocated and awarded,” Chairman Lucas said.

He added, “We in Congress have a responsibility to ensure this effort is a success and that our tax dollars are used effectively. If we burden local governments and industry partners with regulatory requirements and long review timelines, we risk wasting billions in taxpayer funding and weakening our competitive advantage over our adversaries.”

Lucas noted that NIST is a small agency and its resources are spread thin, especially when it comes to doing research into artificial intelligence.

“I am concerned that some of these additional responsibilities may end up taking focus away from core NIST programs,” Chairman Lucas said. “Given the short timelines proved by the Administration in the E.O., NIST is under a lot of pressure to deliver and can’t afford to fumble. But this work should not be rushed at the expense of doing it right.”

His full remarks are available here