Trump to sign executive order promoting artificial intelligence

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President Trump on Monday will sign an executive order dedicating resources to boost U.S. artificial intelligence (AI), a move that comes as the Trump administration seeks a leg up in its technological race with China.

The executive order, titled Accelerating America’s Leadership in Artificial Intelligence, will direct federal agencies to dedicate money and manpower towards researching and developing artificial intelligence (AI) while making government data available to the technology’s developers. 

{mosads}Artificial intelligence is defined as software that allows computers to emulate human intelligence. 

“This initiative will devote the full resources of the federal government to develop AI,” a senior administration official told reporters on Sunday evening.

The order directs federal agencies to prioritize funding AI initiatives and open up their troves of data to AI experts, a move that privacy advocates are certain to push back against. 

Two of the executive order’s five pillars focus on the most prominent ethical concerns surrounding artificial intelligence – the displacement of human workers and the lack of an official set of standards regulating the development of these sensitive technologies.

One of the order’s pillars directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a set of national standards for creating “reliable, robust, trustworthy, secure, portable, and interoperable AI systems.” It also asks federal agencies to establish their own guidelines for cultivating AI. 

“What we can do is come together as a White House … to provide high-level guidance to the agencies to give them at least a roadmap to use as they think about the issues that you’ve discussed, including ethics,” an administration official said, responding to a question about the privacy concerns around using government data.

Another section of the order asks agencies to prioritize “fellowship and training programs” that would help workers become more AI-savvy. 

Experts have long raised concerns that improved AI will displace U.S. workers, a process that has already begun, while other technologists have ponited out that AI could create as many jobs as it displaces. 

“On the workforce displacement, that is something that we are very cognizant of,” an administration official told reporters, noting that the White House has dedicated resources towards funding apprenticeships and programs that train workers to keep up with rapidly changing technologies.

In the light of the executive order, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is planning to invest in AI that will “improve predictions of hurricanes and severe storms,” the agency said in a statement. 

“[The The American AI Initiative] … will accelerate the ability of [NOAA] researchers to create AI that can assimilate the massive amounts of big data from our environmental satellites into our weather models to improve predictions of hurricanes and severe storms,” reads a fact sheet about the order. 

When asked whether the executive order is a response to China’s forward motion on AI, an administration official said it is “not surprising to us that the Chinese are interested in this particular domain” and that the economic superpower is “spending and investing heavily” in it. 

“China’s a member of the G-20,” the official said when pressed about whether it would collaborate with China on AI. “AI is an issue that has been taken up in that particular form, but we are excited to be developing our principles and our agenda with American values in mind and that’s something that we are excited to share with the world.” 

Trump is expected to sign multiple executive orders in the coming weeks on quantum technology, including the development of 5G.

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