Trump signs order prioritising AI research

Isaac Cain
February 12, 2019

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday kickstarting the American AI Initiative, a strategic plan to keep the nation ahead of its competitors in artificial intelligence.

"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 Monday executive order reads. While the order states that it hopes to "promote scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and national security", it provides little in the way of financial support for that endeavor.

Redirect funding: The order will direct federal funding agencies to prioritize investments in artificial intelligence.

"AI is something that touches every aspect of people's lives", a senior administration official said on the call.

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"We can not sit idly by and presume that our leadership is guaranteed", according to a statement released by White House on Monday.

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. "We must ensure that advances in AI remain fueled by American ingenuity, reflect American values, and are applied for the benefit of the American people". Eighteen other countries have beaten America to the punch in that regard. "Companies like Google are also expanding their operations in countries like China, France and Canada, as the A.I. talent in those countries continues to expand".

This isn't to say that the USA has lost its place as the global leader in AI, given the tremendous influence of companies like Amazon and Google.

The order directs federal agencies to make government data and computing resources more available to artificial intelligence experts while maintaining security and confidentiality.

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