Trump administration unveils order to prioritize, promote AI

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

"Our private companies are moving very fast, but the government is not", said Darrell West with the Brookings Institution.

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.

The first two points focus on making more resources available to AI researchers.

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This executive order marks Trump's first major move in the AI space, which is poised to transform the USA economy and workforce, with automation predicted to displace 36 million United States jobs by 2030.

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This isn't to say that the US has lost its place as the global leader in AI, given the tremendous influence of companies like Amazon and Google. The project is set to involve officials from a number of other agencies, including the Department of Defense.

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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". So far, the US has lacked a high-level strategy to pursue dominance in the field.

"Americans have profited tremendously from being the early developers and global leaders in AI", according to a statement from the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Two cities in china have committed to investing almost $15 billion. But the country is going to put vast resources towards changing that, and China already has more patents. The executive order is meant to fill that gap, and to help the US compete with countries such as China, France, Canada, and South Korea, all of which have established programs to prioritize competition in the field of AI. 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. The Chinese government has made a 10-fold increase in AI output a national priority for coming years, and many companies there are deploying machine-learning systems to update banking services, identify faces in crowds, and control drones. The university boasts more than 70 professors teaching and researching in the area.

Information is scarce about the American AI Initiative, as it's called, with the administration pledging to release details over the next six months. A study out last month showed almost one in four San Antonio jobs were at high risk of being automated.

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