Trump signs executive order to boost artificial intelligence industry

World Today

United States President Donald Trump wants to make the U.S. the leader in artificial intelligence technology. 

He signed an executive order squarely aimed at competing with China’s rapid development in AI, but, as CGTN’s Nathan King reports, the plan is short on details. 

When it comes to AI, the U.S. may be playing catch-up. The U.S. government is asking its agencies, academia, and industry to make it a priority.

The executive order reads: “The United States must drive technological breakthroughs in AI across the Federal Government, industry, and academia in order to promote scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and national security.”

The U.S. president aims to boost research, investment in AI and develop the workforce to run the machine learning technologies that will power self-driving cars, automated manufacturing and design, and thousands of industries yet to be developed. Critics say the problem with this plan is that it is vague and has no money behind it.

In contrast, China is already deploying AI technologies for all the world to see. This year’s TV extravaganza to celebrate the Spring Festival used AI and augmented reality in a way U.S. TV networks can only dream of. AI hotels, machine learning robot waiters, even AI-inspired newsreaders are all high-profile projects that reflect a national investment priority for China.

“The first is to strengthen the new type infrastructure construction, stimulate the building of Artificial Intelligence industry, Industrial Internet and Internet of Things, and accelerate the pace of commercial application of 5G,” Lian Weiliang, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission said.

The U.S. with its technological superiority is still considered a leader in the AI field, but U.S. government fears that China is catching up fast propelled Trump’s announcement.

Without naming individual countries the executive order says the U.S. must “organize the development of an action plan to protect the United States advantage in AI and AI technology critical to United States economic and national security interests against strategic competitors and adversarial nations.”

Healthy competition between China, the U.S. and others, when it comes to the industries of tomorrow, could help spur innovation globally. But, increasingly, fears are that a “Silicon Curtain” is descending between the world’s two largest economies, forcing nations to take sides over the technologies of tomorrow.