Trump signs ‘American AI Initiative’ in executive order

Trump administration unveils order to prioritise and promote AI

Trump administration unveils order to prioritise and promote AI

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday created to beef up how the US approaches artificial intelligence.

US President Donald Trump's highly-anticipated executive order on artificial intelligence provides zero dollars in new funding and gives little in the way of direction for implementing the strategy for maintaining US dominance of the field.

The last time Trump announced a potentially landmark scientific initiative, it was for a much less credible cause his call for a new military branch, the "Space Force". However, while the goals are lofty, the details are vague.

The goal of the executive order is to make sure the U.S. is on the spearhead of the development of this new and disruptive technology.

It also directs agencies to make data more available to developers, set standards for how technology is developed, and calls for a plan to "preserve America's advantage in collaboration" with allies.

Trump plans to sign an executive order directing federal agencies to prioritize research and development in artificial intelligence.

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"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.

This technology-promoting initiative calls for protecting the advantage of the United States in AI "against strategic competitors and foreign adversaries", but without specifying its competitors or adversaries. 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.

In May, a top White House technology official, Michael Kratsios, assured participants from more than 100 companies across several sectors of the economy that the administration would pursue a hands-off regulatory approach to AI to allow it to grow unfettered. This initiative also calls for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to lead the development of appropriate technical standards for reliable, robust, trustworthy, secure, portable, and interoperable AI systems.

Then there's China. Kratsios talked about "winning the race for AI", but none of the United States 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.

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.

Despite Thursday's announcement lacking detail around funding, many feel the executive order will focus energy and attention on AI.

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