September 12, 2019
The U.S. federal government has come up with $973.5 million for multiple agencies that have requested funding for non-defense-related artificial intelligence pursuits. (Spending on AI for national defense is classified.) This is the first time the government has done so, but numerous industry executives are already saying that it’s not enough to “maintain a competitive edge.” The Trump administration stated that the figures they are putting forward are more transparent than those from China, which aims to dominate AI by 2030.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. chief technology officer Michael Kratsios said, “too often, the conversation focuses almost exclusively not on where America is dominant, but instead on the alleged disparity in government spending on AI R&D.” “In American AI R&D budgets, you won’t find aspirational expenditures or cryptic funding mechanisms,” he added.
But Intel and Nvidia representatives countered, criticizing “federal officials for not doing enough to come up with regulations governing data protection and privacy,” which some think could “spur private investment in AI.”
Nvidia vice president for the North American public sector Anthony Robbins stressed, “Washington needs to boost its AI training programs and figure out a way to compete for AI talent with startups and technology companies that pay more.” “A billion dollars is certainly a great thing and certainly interesting, but it’s not nearly enough,” he added.
Intel director and managing attorney of U.S. AI/healthcare policy divisions Jackie Medecki said today’s patchwork of state regulations make it difficult to clarify how data could be used, calling for a “national, comprehensive privacy law” to create more trust in AI.
Several countries, including Canada, China, Finland, France and Germany, have already developed national AI strategies for its use and development. Medecki suggested that the U.S. should “follow the example of countries like Estonia … which developed a formal strategy for how the technology should be used, including AI’s ethical implications.”
Intel also released “a set of recommendations for the U.S. government,” which included a mandate to adopt AI systems throughout the government and create federal privacy legislation. According to a Center for Data Innovation report, “China is adopting AI at a faster rate than the U.S. and the European Union, possibly because Chinese companies and citizens understand the value of AI.”