The federal government is preparing to invest about $4.9 billion in unclassified artificial intelligence and machine learning-related research and development in fiscal 2020, according to budget documents released March 18. The number of AI-related programs has ballooned compared with fiscal 2019. Such rapid growth in AI investments, however, raises questions about whether the progress is organic or whether agencies are inflating their AI investments to improve their odds of receiving funding.
A new AI-enabled pilot project aims to sense “micro changes” in the behavior of people with top-secret clearances. If it works, it could be the future of corporate HR.
For months, the White House has been talking up artificial intelligence as one of America’s most important tech frontiers. Now we’re starting to see some of the dollar signs behind the talk. In newly released budget documents, the Trump administration says it wants to split $850 million in civilian federal spending on AI research and development between the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Energy Department.
Google has requested a meeting with a top U.S. general as political tension rises over the internet giant’s artificial intelligence work in China. General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Thursday that Google "indirectly benefits the Chinese military" and is planning to meet with the company over the matter. The Pentagon official cited a Google AI lab that opened in Beijing in 2017 as a cause of concern.
A PwC report estimates that by 2030, 70 percent of the profits generated by artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will be shared between the U.S. and China. While the two countries compete to develop the most advanced AI applications, there are also many opportunities for cooperation to mitigate the technology’s potential risks.
To start with, the way some analysts--spanning government, industry, academia, journalism, think tanks--discuss an AI “arms race” makes it sound as if the development of these technologies is siloed within the United States and in China. But there are great interdependencies and interconnections between AI development in the two countries; artificial intelligence is not developed on isolated tracks.
The report urges the government to dictate specific funding commitments and resources to enable the innovation of AI systems. It calls for a study that demonstrates where the U.S. will get the most bang for its buck through research and development investments, and also encourages the administration to allocate AI funding to specific government agencies including the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Science Foundation.
The initiative is a broad strategy “to sustain and enhance the scientific, technological, and economic leadership position of the United States in AI R&D and deployment.” But critics have complained it’s short on specific actions and lacks new funding to accomplish its goals, in contrast to China’s 2017 “Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan,” which allocated billions to establish China as the “premier global AI innovation center” by 2030.
Low unemployment has made the current economy a “workers’ market.” Yet, as technology advances, roles in the workforce are shifting with it. As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) progress, they may impact workers currently employed in certain jobs. Some positions may be phased out, while other new professions may open.
The American AI Initiative is a welcome step towards boosting U.S. competitiveness in AI, but it does not go far enough. Without more substantial efforts from the Trump administration and Congress, the United States will struggle to compete with other countries that have developed aggressive national AI strategies, and the economy will be worse off for it.