Leadership Blog - March 5, 2024

Advancing Open Competition and Open Innovation in the Age of AI: Introducing The AI Center from INCOMPAS
By Chip Pickering, CEO, INCOMPAS

In every generation, there comes a time where we look back on a defining moment in our life that encapsulates the emergence of new standards, policies and technologies. 2024 is no different. Artificial intelligence’s rapid evolution is destined to permeate every facet of our society. It will permanently reshape the structure of our economies and our politics. We need a proven and experienced body to elevate the conversation in our nation’s capital. That’s why, today, we’re announcing the AI Center from INCOMPAS.
At INCOMPAS, we have been on the frontlines of consistent and transformational change throughout our roughly 40 years as an association. With each change, we have embraced new technologies and analyzed their micro and macro impacts, while putting openness and competition at the forefront of our work. From open networks to open internet—and now open AI—we have the experience and the knowledge to represent this new era of profound technological change.
While AI may seem new to some, our industry has been using it for a number of years. AI algorithms are being deployed to optimize network performance, manage traffic congestion and enhance overall network efficiency. We have seen these technologies dynamically allocate resources, predict network demands, drive social media evolution, and adapt to changing conditions in real-time—often resulting in extraordinary efficiency for the public. Early AI innovation has also been used to analyze vast quantities of data to identify patterns to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks, helping to fortify telecommunications and networks against various threats from all kinds of actors.
But what’s next? And how will this technology impact the rest of our economy, and with it, the rhythms of our daily lives?
AI will unleash opportunities across every sector of the U.S. economy. As with all major technological revolutions, fear and trepidation are understandable—and very human—responses. Will AI replace my job or my industry? Is AI dangerous for elections? What does it mean for education and healthcare? Will AI undermine my privacy? Those are just a few of the profound questions society will face as this new technology becomes more sophisticated and deeply integrated into our professional and personal lives.
But now is not the time to be afraid of change. It is a time for curiosity, open dialogue and to facilitate a participatory national conversation about the future we can create together.
For our part, we believe in the tireless advancement of competition across the AI sector to allow it to flourish and grow. Many people think that AI is the product of coastal think tanks and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and that it doesn't have much applicability for the rest of the country. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Whether it’s utilizing AI in the lab for cancer research and detection, or in the field to help with predictive capability on crop loss and significant weather predictions, or driving improvements in manufacturing plants, AI is going to impact the lives of every American. And we get to shape that story together.
That is why we are creating the INCOMPAS Center for Artificial Intelligence Public Policy and Responsibility to encourage collaboration between government, academia and industry on creating responsible policies that can advance our homegrown AI ecosystem and improve the lives of all Americans. The establishment of the AI Center aligns with INCOMPAS's mission to drive innovation through competition, new technology and industry collaboration.  The Center would specifically focus on how AI can drive national connectivity and unleash an era of unprecedented innovation and growth in all sectors of the economy, including telecommunications networks, healthcare, education, and agriculture. The Center will also look at competitive policies that can break down barriers to entry in AI—in both the public and private sectors. Through dedicated research efforts and strategic partnerships, we intend to create regional hubs at universities across the country to foster a national network of collaboration that can drive technological breakthroughs, while ensuring accessibility across the spectrum of AI exploration
INCOMPAS has always been a leader in the industry. We are first to move, first to innovate and first to advocate for new networks and new technologies that have shaped America's last 40 years and will shape the next 40. We are excited to use our extensive experience to advance the national AI conversation, and to represent the voices of our members in the critical debates that will shape how this transformational technology reshapes our lives and drives benefits for communities across the country.