Ryan A. Riccucci

Division Chief at U.S. Customs & Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol

I signed this manifesto to signal my commitment to purposeful, meaningful, and honest discussion regarding the crucial aspects of data creation, data quality, and knowledge representation for artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and machine reasoning (MR). The tremendous progress in innovative applications of AI seem destined to come crashing to a halt because the requirements to create AI-ready data seems to be an afterthought or absent from the AI conversation altogether. The Global AI zeitgeist, the Great Powers Competition, and America’s technology fetishism are a few of the things that keep me awake at night, but the specter of a data doomsday is what I find most concerning—the point at which organizations can no longer afford the cost of exploding data storage and computational bandwidth. But forget the potential savings of the data-centric paradigm, if we don’t emphasize the data, we are going to lose the AI arms race. This manifesto gives me hope. Potentially no longer an open secret, numerous reports, surveys, audits, and industry experts generally concur that most organizations do not have AI-ready data, the majority of organizations’ data holdings are garbage, and organizations spend an inexcusable amount of money on programmers to maintain code between applications using duplicate or redundant data, that isn’t connected, consumable, or interoperable at scale. Data must be a forethought, not an afterthought, if organizations desire to reap the benefits of AI. To me, data is the only thought. And we must think harder.