President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday expanding his administration’s efforts to foster research and development of artificial intelligence tools in government.
The executive order directs the heads of research agencies to “budget an amount for AI R&D that is appropriate” for the White House’s elevation of AI as a national priority.
The executive order lays out six strategic goals for agencies:
- Promote “sustained investment” in AI R&D with industry, academic and international partners.
- Improve access to “high-quality and fully traceable federal data.”
- Reduce the barriers to greater AI adoption.
- Ensure cybersecurity standards to “minimize vulnerability to attacks from malicious actors.”
- Train “the next generation” of American AI researchers.
- Develop a national action plan to “protect the advantage” of the United States in AI.
National Science Foundation Director France Córdova, who attended the White House signing ceremony, said the AI Initiative will “be critically important” to keeping the United States at the forefront of technology and innovation.
“Many of the transformative uses of AI that we are witnessing today are founded in federal government investments in fundamental AI research that reach back over decades,” Córdova said in a statement. “Building the foundations of tomorrow’s AI innovations will require new interdisciplinary collaborations, resources and strategic vision — principles that NSF has championed in its support of fundamental AI research.”
The White House launched an artificial intelligence task force last May focused on updating a national research and development strategy the Obama administration developed in 2016.
Lynne Parker, the assistant director for artificial intelligence at the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), said last December that the task force would release an updated version of that R&D strategic plan by “early spring.”
Michael Kratsios, the deputy chief technology officer and deputy assistant to the president at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote in an op-ed Monday that the executive order will “focus federal government resources to develop AI.”
Daniel Castro, the director of the Center for Data Innovation, said the group welcomed the executive order, but urged the White House to “do more than reprogram existing funds for AI research, skill development, and infrastructure development.”
“Among these additional steps, it should ask Congress for significant funding increases to expand these research efforts,” as well as expand agencies’ use of AI and retrain the country’s workforce, Castro wrote in an email.
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