Trump Orders Increased Emphasis on Artificial Intelligence Research

14 February, 2019, 04:57 | Author: Shawn Conner
  • The Donald Trump administration will direct agencies to prioritise AI investments in research and development increase access to federal data and models for that research and prepare workers to adapt to the era of AI

President Trump issued an executive order directing the Federal Government to prioritize research and development of America's artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

Under the American AI Initiative, the administration is directing agencies to prioritize AI investments in research and development, increase access to federal data and models for that research and prepare workers to adapt to the era of AI.

The document is expected to focus on five key areas, namely encouraging research and development, upping the availability of resources, preparing workers for changes to the job market and global outreach, in a way that retains U.S. "values and interests". "We must accelerate the adoption of AI-enabled capabilities to strengthen our military, improve effectiveness and efficiency, and enhance the security of our nation", he said after Trump signed the executive order.

As part of the American AI Initiative, Federal agencies will foster public trust in AI systems by establishing guidance for AI development and use across different types of technology and industrial sectors.

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The initiative "will help USA firms maintain their global advantage", but the administration needs to take some subsequent steps to make the initiative truly transformative, Daniel Castro, VP at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, wrote in a statement. The project is set to involve officials from a number of other agencies, including the Department of Defense. So far, the USA has lacked a high-level strategy to pursue dominance in the field.

Mr Darrell West, head of the Brookings Institution's Center for Technology Innovation, said the White House move was "timely" but that it remained uncertain how it would be implemented without clear funding. But the country is going to put vast resources towards changing that, and China already has more patents. "Given that AI is an area that not only the USA has an investment, but there's a lot of competitors out there, we have countries like South Korea and China".

Brynjolfsson said it's important for USA policymakers to not only push the AI technology frontier, but also think hard about values and how the technology is implemented. "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".

America is widely considered the world leader in artificial intelligence - however, many believe the Chinese government's vast access to data might give it an advantage in the coming years. UTSA is poised now to hire eight new professors in the field. A study out last month showed almost one in four San Antonio jobs were at high risk of being automated.

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