Trump budget proposal boosts funding for artificial intelligence, quantum computing

Trump budget proposal boosts funding for artificial intelligence, quantum computing
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled MORE's budget proposal unveiled Monday includes significant funding increases for research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.

If approved, the fiscal 2021 budget would double nondefense AI spending from roughly $973 million to almost $2 billion.

It would also significantly boost quantum information science research by 50 percent compared with last year, with plans to double investment by 2022.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Last year, the President committed to investing in the Industries of the Future," Michael Kratsios, the White House's chief technology officer, said in a statement.

"Now, he’s delivering on this promise with a historic doubling of AI and quantum R&D investments that will fuel American leadership in these critical technologies for years to come. In the face of intense global competition, the FY 21 Budget affirms the importance of technology leadership to America’s economic strength and national security," Kratsios added.

Trump's budget proposal would allocate $850 million to AI research and $220 million for quantum at the National Science Foundation (NSF), which focuses on research and education.

That "will expand foundational knowledge in these highly productive research areas as well as for innovation applications and uses to enhance economic success," France Córdova, the director of the NSF, told reporters Monday.

"NSF is focused on workforce training and STEM education in these areas, which will be crucial to our ability to harness the full potential of this industry," Córdova added.

The Trump administration has made several efforts to lead in both of those fields, which were highlighted in the White House's American AI Initiative from February of last year.

ADVERTISEMENT

"As we enter the 2020’s, our Nation confronts new challenges and opportunities," Trump wrote in the budget's forward.

"The 21st century requires us to focus on great power rivals; prioritize artificial intelligence, 5G, and industries of the future; and to protect our research and environment from foreign government influence," Trump added.

The budget proposed by Trump on Monday would nullify a two-year deal negotiated with Congress last summer by cutting domestic spending.

Presidential budgets are ignored by Congress frequently and the two-year deal negotiated last fall, which raised both defense and domestic spending, is likely to remain in place.

However, Monday's proposal does illustrate the administration's focus on the two technology issues.