Closings & Delays

President Trump to sign executive order launching artificial intelligence initiative

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Monday launching the American Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiative, a senior administration official told reporters in a background call over the weekend.

The initiative outlines “bold, decisive actions to ensure that AI continues to be fueled by American ingenuity, reflects American values and is applied for the benefit of the American people,” the official said.

Aimed at bolstering American leadership in AI, the initiative features a “multi-pronged approach” that is categorized into five key pillars: research and development, AI infrastructure, AI governance, workforce and international engagement.

When asked about the benefit of AI to the American public, the official emphasized how “artificial intelligence is something that touches every aspect of people’s lives,” pointing to medical care, food production and energy resource extraction as examples. The official also sought to allay concerns that investments in new AI technology may displace American workers, noting that the administration is “very cognizant of” the issue and has already developed programming like apprenticeships and career special education programs to address it.

As part of his State of the Union address last week, Trump called for “investments in the cutting edge industries of the future,” and the administration official underscored the importance of AI in “driving” these future industries for the US.

But on the global stage, this new executive order comes at a time of heightened tensions with China over trade and technology. Last month, the US filed criminal charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei for allegedly stealing trade secrets from US-based companies and working to dodge US sanctions on Iran.

When asked about China’s advancements in AI and any concerns that the US may have about China stealing US innovations, the official said: “The US is the world leader in artificial intelligence. It is not surprising to us that the Chinese are interested in this particular domain and are spending and investing heavily.” But as for intellectual property protections, “that is something that this specific executive order does not cover.”

Later, when pressed on potentially working with China on AI technologies, the official deflected, saying only that “China is a member of the G20, and AI is an issue that has been taken up in that particular forum.”

“But we are excited to be developing our principles and our agenda with American values in mind, and that is something that we’re excited to share with the world,” the official continued.

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