Experts have long called on President Trump’s administration to make development of artificial intelligence (AI) a major priority. The President answered with an executive order signed in early February 2019, meant to spur development and regulation of AI.
There is concern that the United States is not keeping pace with China and other countries, including South Korea, Britain, France, and Canada, that are making large investments in AI. China could surpass the U.S. in development of technology that will power surveillance systems and autonomous weapons, as well as self-driving cars and a wide range of internet services. Government agencies in the U.S. have major projects in the works, but AI experts have worried that top talent is moving to companies like Google and Amazon and away from government agencies.
Trump’s American AI Initiative is a step in the right direction, but not nearly as bold as many had hoped. Experts in the field point out that the initiative is light on specifics. It’s aimed at better education for American workers in AI, improving access to the cloud computing services and data needed to build AI systems, and promoting cooperation with foreign powers.
However, the order doesn’t set aside funds for AI research and development and provides few details on how it plans to put its new policies into effect. There are also no specifics on how the U.S. will track the progress of these efforts.
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Metz, Cade. (11 Feb 2019). Trump Signs Executive Order Promoting Artificial Intelligence. The New York Times.
Strickland, Eliza. (12 Feb 2019). 4 Experts Respond to Trump’s Executive Order on AI. IEEE Spectrum.