Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
IT | By Emmett Cole

3 things businesses need to know about Trump's American AI Initiative

3 things businesses need to know about Trump's American AI Initiative

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday, launching an initiative to ensure the country's leadership in artificial intelligence (AI). According to the MIT Technology Review, the plan has five key aims: Redirect funding, create resources, establish standards, retrain workers, and engage internationally.

Commenting on the White House's announcement of the executive order, Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer at cybersecurity technologies provider CrowdStrike, said in a statement, "Today, AI is at the center of most major technological advances in areas as varied as cybersecurity, self-driving cars or development of cancer treatments". However, while the goals are lofty, the details are vague. The administration says it's up to Congress to appropriate money.

The order makes AI dominance the official policy position of the United States and lays out of five principles that will guide future actions: the US must drive technological breakthroughs in AI, develop appropriate technical standards, train current and future generations of American workers to use and work in tandem with automated intelligence, foster public trust in AI technologies and promote an worldwide environment that supports American research and innovation.

It also seeks preparing America's workforce for the jobs of the future by directing federal agencies to help Americans gain AI-relevant skills and promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

The American AI Initiative executive order calls for the United States administration to "devote the full resources of the federal government" to help fuel AI innovation. America is a bit late to the game when it comes to government action, falling behind countries like China, Canada, and France who have pledged millions of dollars and jobs to foster research and innovation.

However, the order stops short of specific funding or a detailed strategy for deployment of artificial intelligence.

Trump, in his State of the Union speech last week, said he was willing to work with lawmakers to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting-edge industries of the future, calling it a "necessity". But she said the administration also must ensure that AI's potential ethical challenges are taken seriously. 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 USA intellectual property and trade secrets. "It is important for the USA to keep pace because AI will transform many different sectors". "If we want Western values to thrive, we need to play a role in maintaining and even extending the technological strength we've long had", he added.

Economists have also warned that AI advances could displace many US workers in the coming years - something that Trump's plan doesn't do enough to address, said Bradford Newman, an attorney who is pushing for a new regulatory body to govern AI issues.

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