President Donald Trump has signed an executive order directing federal agencies to prioritize research and development in artificial intelligence.
The plan, called the American AI Initiative, follows big investment pledges from China and other countries intended to advance and apply AI technology in fields ranging from warfighting to health care.
The White House plan that Trump signed Monday doesn’t include any funding details. The administration says it’s up to Congress to appropriate money. That lack of specifics is troubling to AI experts such as Erik Brynjolfsson, a management professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“The good news is America’s research infrastructure in artificial intelligence is leading the world,” Brynjolfsson said. “But other countries are making much more aggressive investments and rapidly closing the gap, especially China.”
Trump’s order directs federal agencies to make government data and computing resources more available to artificial intelligence experts while maintaining security and confidentiality. Creating such standards for capturing and sharing huge troves of data, such as medical records, could lead to breakthroughs in medical diagnosis and treatment, said Tom Mitchell, interim dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s computer science school.
The order also calls on agencies to “protect civil liberties, privacy and American values” in applying AI technologies, and to help workers gain relevant skills through fellowships, apprenticeships, training programs and computer science education.
Tech leaders from industry and academia have pushed the Trump administration to develop a national AI strategy.