White House poised to take action on AI, 5G

White House poised to take action on AI, 5G
© Greg Nash

The White House is expected to take action within the next few weeks aimed at boosting U.S. artificial intelligence and 5G deployment, an administration official confirmed to The Hill.

The plan will offer the "first deliverables" of the National Quantum Initiative Act, a law passed by the previous Congress that laid out an initiative to improve U.S. efforts on quantum technology, according to the official.

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Lawmakers and experts have long raised concerns that China is beating the U.S. in the race to implement artificial intelligence as well as 5G, a mobile broadband technology that could dramatically increase internet speeds and bandwidth.

"Within the coming weeks, we could expect to see action designed to preserve American [research and development] leadership in artificial intelligence, 5G, and the first deliverables from the National Quantum Initiative Act," the administration official said in an email to The Hill.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported the White House plan is expected to include executive orders from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE that will funnel resources toward improving AI and 5G technology.

Trump during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night noted that he supports investing in the "industries of the future," reportedly a nod to White House efforts on AI, 5G deployment and other tech-based initiatives to remain competitive with China.

"The Industries of the Future will be powered by the technological advances of today," the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said in an email sent to reporters shortly after Trump gave the shout-out.

"President Trump’s commitment to American leadership in artificial intelligence, 5G wireless, quantum science, and advanced manufacturing will ensure that these technologies serve to benefit the American people and that the American innovation ecosystem remains the envy of the world for generations to come,” Michael Kratsios, Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Policy, said in the statement.

The administration is expected to push for increased spending on researching and developing new technologies and using governmental data to improve artificial intelligence, according to the Journal.

During a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday, senators raised concerns that China could win the "race to 5G," and that Chinese telecom giants such as ZTE and Huawei could hack any U.S. 5G technology. 

"We must be certain that there is a secure supply chain backing up our 5G system," Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mike Roman says 3M on track to deliver 2 billion respirators globally and 1 billion in US by end of year; US, Pfizer agree to 100M doses of COVID-19 vaccine that will be free to Americans Overnight Energy: Supreme Court reinstates fast-track pipeline permit except for Keystone XL | Judge declines to reverse Dakota Access Pipeline shutdown OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' report | Climate change erases millennia of cooling: study | Senate nixes proposal limiting Energy Department's control on nuclear agency budget MORE (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the committee, said during her opening remarks. "We cannot tolerate a leaky valve or a back-door into these networks."

She then called on the Trump administration to provide Congress with "a real, quantifiable 5G threat assessment."