Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
Industry | By Kenny Hampton

Trump administration unveils order to prioritize and promote AI

Trump administration unveils order to prioritize and promote AI

But the White House is directing federal agencies to prioritize AI investments, develop training programs, and collaborate with worldwide allies.

President Donald Trump will push AI with an executive order Monday, several outlets reported. However, while the goals are lofty, the details are vague.

However Trump claims that the initiative will make sure the United States keeps its research and development advantage in AI and related areas, such as advanced manufacturing and quantum computing.

It also seeks preparing America's workforce for the jobs of the future by directing federal agencies to help Americans gain AI-relevant skills and promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

This technology-promoting initiative calls for protecting the advantage of the United States in AI "against strategic competitors and foreign adversaries", but without specifying its competitors or adversaries. "The American AI Initiative will build on this success by leveraging our R&D ecosystem of industry, academia, and government and prioritizing federal investments of cutting-edge ideas that can directly benefit the American people".

Under the American AI Initiative, federal agencies will be asked to "prioritize AI investments" and to report spending on machine learning projects more transparency.

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Wired noted that private-sector tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have been asking for federal standards on privacy and safety for AI technologies, such as facial recognition software.

Meanwhile, Walter Copan, director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will have 180 days to create a plan for developing "technical standards and related tools in support of reliable, robust, and trustworthy systems that use AI technologies".

"The good news is America's research infrastructure in artificial intelligence is leading the world, but other countries are making much more aggressive investments and rapidly closing the gap, especially China", Brynjolfsson warned.

It's well understood that this is directed at Beijing, which in July 2017 unveiled its plan to become the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. Eighteen countries including Canda, Denmark, France, Mexico, Singapore, and South Korea now have fully funded AI strategies in place, but none have the public-private infrastructure and hardware/software pipeline that exists in China.

The Center for Data Innovation at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation said the order will help push the USA government and private companies to keep pace with China, but that much more needs to be done.

Despite Thursday's announcement lacking detail around funding, many feel the executive order will focus energy and attention on AI.

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