The Trump administration is encouraging federal agencies to put money into the development of machine learning and autonomous systems research and development as a priority beginning this year.
Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios said at an event this month hosted by The New York Times that the current White House is the first to make AI and machine learning a priority.
“When we started our journey last January and understood the imperative of being committed to American leadership in AI, we started thinking about what the different levers we can pull from a White House standpoint to prioritize this issue,” Kratsios said. “The most powerful lever we have is the ability to direct agencies to spend their budget dollars.”
While the Obama administration studied AI, especially possible economic ramifications, “I think we’re the first administration to actually put dollars behind it,” Kratsios said. “This is something we’re deeply committed to.” [source]
Why it matters: AI really is ‘the next big thing’ in technology, and whoever masters it first will leap light years ahead of every other nation. While it’s difficult to project where AI will take technological development, it’s a certainty that nations will use machine learning and autonomous systems to dramatically improve weapons systems. The Trump administration seems to be aware that China has dedicated a lot of resources to AI and clearly wants to be the frontrunner in its development, but has decided not to cede the lead to Beijing.