Exec order prioritizes AI, broadly outlines U.S. goals

An executive order signed by President Trump this week is designed to promote U.S. leadership in AI, especially as China makes great strides, by building on five principles that ensure the U.S. drives breakthroughs in technology as well as technical standards, adequately trains current and future workers, builds public trust in AI while preserving civil rights, and promotes a robust international market while protecting American interests.

Noting “artificial intelligence will affect the missions of nearly all executive departments and agencies,” the order urges agencies to collaborate with public and private sectors, strike down barriers to the use of AI, adopt technical standards to minimize vulnerability to cyberattacks, adequately train next-generation workers and develop and implement action plans for AI implementation.

While short on specifics and funding commitments, the order prioritizes AI, at least in words, at a time when China is making great strides. A Protiviti study done in conjunction with ESI Thoughtlab, titled “Competing in the Cognitive Age: How companies will transform their businesses and drive value through advanced AI,” found that “businesses in the Asia-Pacific region are adopting advanced AI at a more rapid pace than the rest of the world – 22 percent of Asia-Pacific companies surveyed are at advanced stages of machine learning, compared to 11 percent in North America and seven percent in Europe,” with China aiming to be global AI leader by 2030.

“The American Artificial Intelligence (AI) Initiative is a critical step to fully realizing the smart, responsible growth of artificial intelligence, and advancing U.S. leadership in the development and deployment of cutting-edge technologies,” said Andy Halataei, senior vice president of government affairs at the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). “We applaud the president’s call to prioritize federal research and development and investment in this revolutionary technology across the U.S. government, including democratizing access to federal AI data sets.”

He also gave the nod to what he called “the administration’s commitment to ensuring [that] the deployment of this technology includes essential security and privacy protections and creates new opportunities for American workers to succeed in the 21st century.”

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