Trump signs order on artificial intelligence

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

US President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order directing federal agencies to prioritise research and development in artificial intelligence.

The American AI Initiative aims to ensure that the U.S. retains its research and development advantage in AI and other emerging technologies such as quantum computing and advanced manufacturing. While the order states that it hopes to "promote scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and national security", it provides little in the way of financial support for that endeavor.

Ivanka Trump and Chris Liddell, a former Microsoft Corp. chief financial officer who is now a deputy chief of staff to the president, planned to attend the signing ceremony, according to a statement the White House issued in advance.

Redirect funding: The order will direct federal funding agencies to prioritize investments in artificial intelligence. It urges other countries to open markets for American AI industries while ensuring the technology developed in a manner consistent with American values and interests.

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"AI is something that touches every aspect of people's lives".

As The New York Times reported on Monday, "the order does not set aside funds for A.I. research and development, and the administration provided few details on how it will put its new policies into effect". "Companies like Google are also expanding their operations in countries like China, France and Canada, as the A.I. talent in those countries continues to expand".

Last May, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis wrote a note to Trump imploring him to draw up just such a national strategy for retaining United States leadership in AI, noting his fear of China's ambitious plans, the New York Times reported in August.

It directs federal agencies to make data and computing resources more available to artificial intelligence experts while maintaining security and confidentiality. That includes high school, undergraduate and graduate fellowships, alternative education and training programs and other scholarships.

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