Trump’s AI executive order misses something important

Trump’s AI executive order misses something important
Ryan is an editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

President Donald Trump has issued his executive order relating to AI, only it misses something quite important to ensure US leadership.

The executive order titled ‘Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence’ claims to be guided by five principles:

  1. Driving technological breakthroughs.
  2. Leading in developing standards while reducing barriers preventing safe AI testing and deployment.
  3. Training Americans with AI-related skills.
  4. Fostering trust in AI technologies and protecting civil liberties.
  5. Promoting global cooperation which supports American AI research and development.

Each of the principles are important and welcome, but the glaring omission is details are vague about how funding will be allocated to achieve them.

In comparison, other nations – including China, the UK, Canada, and France – have made detailed plans with significant funding to develop and benefit from AI in the coming years.

Prior to his resignation as US Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis implored the president to create a national strategy for AI. With his defense background, Mattis was concerned the US is not keeping pace with the likes of China.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia praised several aspects of the executive order but warned “the tone of this executive order reflects a laissez-faire approach to AI development that I worry will have the US repeating the mistakes it has made in treating digital technologies as inherently positive forces, with insufficient consideration paid to their misapplication.”

Experts have noted if $5 billion is being allocated for a border wall, then money should be made available for the more pressing need of ensuring the US leads in the industries of the future.

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