The White House Sets Its Sights on AI With New Task Force

May 15, 2018 - 4 minutes read

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot commodity right now. Many countries see the technology as the key to a prosperous future. And the United States is no different. Recently, the White House set up a task force dedicated to guiding its AI development efforts.

Advantages That All Can See

A few days ago, the Trump administration launched an AI initiative meant to secure the U.S.’s spot as a top tech innovator. The new effort was announced at an event attended by political leaders, tech pioneers, and AI subject matter experts, many of whom will serve as members of the new group.

On a global scale, this news comes as no surprise. Countries across Asia and Europe are beginning to invest more in AI as an attempt to accelerate research and development in the field. For the U.S., this news may be a bit of a shock since science and tech aren’t exactly the most popular topics with the Trump administration. But it’s hard to deny the many advantages that AI can offer.

Deciding the Direction of Disruption

“To realize the full potential of AI for the American people, it will require the combined efforts of industry, academia, and government,” says Michael Kratsios, the deputy CEO of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). A few weeks ago, our CEO, Marc Fischer, visited with the OSTP during AppCon 18 to discuss the impact that automation and AI would have on the future of the U.S.

Kratsios echoed many of the sentiments shared in these conversations during a speech at the announcement, especially the fact that AI’s disruption could be a positive one if handled correctly. He used startups in Pittsburgh as an example; these companies are hiring a variety of professions and spurring job growth. This is also occurring in other tech communities across the country like Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston.

Going All in on AI

The Trump administration says that funds for unclassified AI R&D have increased by a whopping 40% since 2015. The OSTP will soon release a five-year plan to improve STEM education. One of the main focuses of this strategy will be to boost the number of AI researchers.

Kratsios also mentioned in his speech that opening taxpayer data up to algorithmic research would help immensely: “We can greatly improve that research by opening access to the government’s vast troves of taxpayer-funded data in ways that don’t compromise privacy or security.”

Currently, there are a number of AI initiatives already underway by government agencies. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is researching how machine learning techniques could improve cancer detection and treatment. Another agency, the General Services Administration, is seeing if AI can fulfill the need for more federal auditors.

The Trump administration getting onboard with AI is a great sign for the future of the technology. The introduction of AI into society marks the beginning of a new era for humanity, and this is a step that could ensure a brighter future for the United States.

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