America may be the current world leader in artificial intelligence, but its location is anything but safe. While nations around the world have launched programs to stimulate AI development, the Trump administration has virtually ignored the subject. It will change later today, when President Tump is expected to sign an executive order that creates "American AI Initiative" – a high-level strategy that governs AI development in the United States.
The initiative will redirect federal funding and resources towards AI research, as well as demand the establishment of US leading international standards in AI and new research on retraining of American workers. But the program does not include any new funding for AI development, and is thin on details. The administration does not share any timelines to reach its stated goals and instead promises a more detailed plan sometime in the next six months.
According to several outlets, the goals of the AI initiative are divided into five key areas:
- Research and Development. Federal agencies will be asked to "prioritize AI investments" in their R&D budgets and report how this money is spent to create a more comprehensive overview of public investment in artificial intelligence.
- Release resources . Federal data, algorithms and processing power will be made available to researchers, giving rise to areas such as transport and health care.
- Ethical standards . Government Committees such as the Vita House Science and Technology Policy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will be called upon to create standards that will guide the development of "reliable, robust, reliable, secure, portable, and interoperable AI systems."
- International search The Administration wants to work with other countries on AI development, but does It is in a way that retains American "values and interests."
The initiative currently reported deals with a number of areas that are important for AI development, but the lack of new funding will worry about some. So far, 18 countries have launched National AI strategies, and half of these include new sources of funding from about $ 20 million in Australia and Denmark to nearly $ 2 billion in South Korea.
The new program particularly fails to address the issue of immigration. The US leadership in AI is partly due to the ability to attract foreign talent, but experts warn that researchers are increasingly being ripped off by the Trump administration's immigrant rhetoric and its promises to limit visa freedom. According to statistics from the National Science Foundation, the number of foreign students in the United States decreased by 5.5 percent between 2016 and 2017.
Kate Crawford, co-chair of New York University Research Group AI Now, told Science Magazine that executive order "properly accentuates AI as an important priority for US policy-making", but lacks input from academics and citizens. This is particularly worrying given the potential of AI techniques such as facial recognition to affect privacy and civil liberties. Recently, technical companies like Microsoft have required federal recognition of facial recognition, but the AI initiative does not include any reference to these issues.
Jason Furman, a professor of Harvard who chaired President Obama's financial adviser counsel and helped prepare former management report on AI, Technology Review told that the plan was a step in the right direction, but would need concrete commitments – not just promises – to meet their stated goals.
"The administration's American AI initiative contains all the right elements, the critical test will be to see if they are following through in a powerful way," Furman says. "The plan is aspirational without any details and is not self-sufficient."