Trump signs executive order to boost US-based AI development

Pauline Obrien
February 14, 2019

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order later today that will direct the us government to take a more active role in the development and regulation of artificial intelligence.

First, the executive order will urge federal funding agencies to step up AI investments.

Trump signed the directive Monday.

The order does not offer any information about funding the American AI Initiative or details about how to put the plan into effect.

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As The New York Times reported on Monday, "the order does not set aside funds for A.I. research and development, and the administration provided few details on how it will put its new policies into effect".

The statement made no mention of China but called for "an action plan to protect the advantage of the USA in AI and technology critical to United States national and economic security interests against strategic competitors and foreign adversaries". American workers are also part of the AI initiative, which will equip them with apprenticeships, fellowships, and programs in the AI industry.

"Maintaining American leadership in AI requires a concerted effort to promote advancements in technology and innovation, while protecting American technology, economic and national security, civil liberties, privacy, and American values and enhancing global and industry collaboration with foreign partners and allies".

The administration said the initiative will redirect existing federal funding and resources towards AI research.

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The order - dubbed the American AI Initiative - is expected to give guidance on regulation. No specifics are given regarding specific industries or job types, or which federal bodies will oversee retraining efforts, but the executive order specifically mentions the importance of STEM education in building future workforce with AI-relevant skills.

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.

Artificial intelligence is one of four emerging technologies (alongside advanced manufacturing, quantum computing and 5G) listed by Trump in his State of the Union speech where he called continued "investments in the cutting-edge industries of the future" a "necessity" for America to maintain its technological edge.

Vivek Wadhwa, distinguished fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, discusses how the expansion of artificial intelligence may affect USA employment.

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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 other countries have beaten America to the punch in that regard. Instead, it will announce a more detailed plan later this year.

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