This weekend, the Trump administration shed more light on the “American A.I. Initiative,” a plan the president is set to sign today, in hopes of helping keep the U.S. at the forefront of innovation. The executive order highlights, in its own words, “bold, decisive actions” for maintaining American’s role in developing the artificial intelligence set to touch every aspect of modern life.
Such initiatives are both welcome and needed, but, as The New York Times and others have noted, the plan lacks some key details on how it will accomplish this. The list of omissions includes, perhaps most notably, any new funding to help accomplish any of this.
Setting aside money for things like R&D is a key aspect in assuring that this sort of thing is more than simply lip service for those concerned the country is at risk of falling behind. The move comes in the wake of several initiatives by other countries, most notably China’s 2017 AI initiative, which set aside billions to maintain its technological foothold.
The plan, while vague, does get some things right. Better educating the American workforce is a key part of bracing for the seismic changes such technology will bring. The initiative is a decent first step, but the government is going to have to invest more in order to build its technology natively, as companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft gain increasing public pushback for contracted jobs with the state.