Trump administration unveils order to prioritise and promote AI

Joanna Estrada
February 12, 2019

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order Monday outlining a national strategy for promoting the development of artificial intelligence, administration officials said.

While an official American AI Initiative is a welcome move, those in the industry will be disappointed that the initiative doesn't actually include any new funding for AI development and is pretty light on details besides those laid out above. The Chinese government has made a 10-fold increase in AI output a national priority for coming years, and many companies there are deploying machine-learning systems to update banking services, identify faces in crowds, and control drones.

Trump, in his State of the Union speech last week, said he was willing to work with lawmakers to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting-edge industries of the future, calling it a "necessity".

Mr. Trump's executive action won't call for a specific spending goal on AI, but will call on federal agencies and Congress to "prioritize" such spending, the official said. AI researchers will need to have computer models, computing resources, and federal data to kickstart projects.

Preparing workers: Agencies will train people to prepare for the changes resulting from AI (such as automaton), through apprenticeships, fellowships and training programs.

Last May, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis wrote a note to Trump imploring him to draw up just such a national strategy for retaining U.S. leadership in AI, noting his fear of China's ambitious plans, the New York Times reported in August.

The so-called American AI Initiative does not directly target the communist country, but some experts believe the approach leaves no doubt about the administration's designs.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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