Trump Issues Order to Lay Out National Strategy on Artificial Intelligence

14 February, 2019, 04:57 | Author: Camille Rivera
  • President Donald Trump waves after arriving on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington Friday Feb. 8 2019. The President was returning to the White House after his annual physical exam at Walter Reed National Military Medical Cent

President Trump plans to sign an executive order that focuses on promoting artificial intelligence - but unlike his most famous science-based initiative, which called for an unrealistic "Space Force", this one is being slammed by critics for insufficient boldness.

Directing Federal agencies to establish "guidance for AI development and use across different types of technology and industrial sectors" in order to foster public trust in AI systems and help Federal regulatory agencies "develop and maintain approaches for the safe and trustworthy creation and adoption of new AI technologies".

"If the administration wants its AI initiative to be transformative, it will need to do more than reprogramme existing funds for AI research, skill development, and infrastructure development".

The order directs federal agencies to make government data and computing resources more available to artificial intelligence experts while maintaining security and confidentiality. It suggests apprenticeships, fellowships, skills programs and STEM education.

"Today's announcement demonstrates that President Trump recognises that the United States can not coast on our thriving innovation economy to maintain our leadership in AI but must actively engage so that it does not become a threat to our national and economic security interests", he said.

That idea was promoted by the Pentagon as necessary because "potential adversaries are now actively developing ways to deny our use of space in a crisis", and therefore it was "imperative that the United States adapts its policies, doctrine and capabilities to protect our interests".

Under the American AI Initiative, agencies would be directed to prioritize AI investments in research and development while also increasing access to federal data and models needed to facilitate research.

Information is scarce about the American AI Initiative, as it's called, with the administration pledging to release details over the next six months. The tension between the nations is notable with the back-and-forth trade war, as well as the United States' threats and actions toward Chinese tech company Huawei, which the federal government accuses of pilfering US intellectual property and trade secrets.

Trump envisioned AI technology affecting almost every federal department and agency, creating new opportunities for efficiency while simultaneously raising concerns about privacy rights.

Then there's China. Kratsios talked about "winning the race for AI", but none of the U.S. government's official messaging on the American AI Initiative have explicity named the world's other AI powerhouse, which launched a broad AI funding and development plan in 2017. "China is investing US$150 billion by 2030 with the goal of becoming the pre-eminent AI country in the world".

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.



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