White House Launches 'American AI Initiative' Through Executive Order

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

Ivanka Trump and Chris Liddell, a former Microsoft Corp. chief financial officer who is now a deputy chief of staff to the president, planned to attend the signing ceremony, according to a statement the White House issued in advance. The President was returning to the White House after his annual physical exam at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order February 11 directing federal agencies to invest more money and resources into the development of artificial intelligence technologies.

"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.

Without naming China explicitly, Trump's order does state that the U.S. "must promote an worldwide environment that supports American AI research and innovation and opens markets for American AI industries, while protecting our technological advantage in AI and protecting our critical AI technologies from acquisition by strategic competitors and adversarial nations". It aims to set guidelines to ensure the new technologies are trustworthy.

The American AI Initiative - that's what it's called - comes as China has been pressing on with its own campaign to boost development of AI, a big priority for its government and part of their sizable investments in next-generation technologies. Similar funding initiatives and development plans for AI innovation have already been established by several countries, including France and China. This action will help educate the AI R&D workforce our Nation needs to create and embrace new AI technologies.

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The order - dubbed the American AI Initiative - is expected to give guidance on regulation. Lastly, the USA will foster global collaboration for AI.

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

Calling on Federal agencies to prioritize "fellowship and training programs to help American workers gain AI-relevant skills through apprenticeships, skills programs, fellowships, and education in computer science and other growing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields".

It is vital for prosperity and security that the U.S. keeps its leadership position in development and implementation of AI technologies.

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. "I look forward to working with the President to guarantee AI is fuelled by American innovation, while protecting consumer data privacy and American values", he said.

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