What critics get wrong about the “American AI Initiative”

TechCrunch | 3/4/2019 | Staff
abbycraig (Posted by) Level 3
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Sujai Hajela is co-founder, president and CEO of Mist, which develops self-learning wireless networks using artificial intelligence.

There’s been a bit of hysteria – AIsteria, if you will – over the Trump administration’s recently issued American AI Initiative, formally known as ‘Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence.”

Initiative - Strategy - Leadership - Position - United

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.

Babson - College - Professor - Thomas - Davenport

As Babson College professor Thomas Davenport noted in a recent essay in The Conversation.

One Chinese state alone has said it will devote $5 billion to developing AI technologies and businesses. The city of Beijing has committed $2 billion to developing an AI-focused industrial park. A major port, Tianjin, plans to invest $16 billion in its local AI industry.

China - USA - AI - US - Initiative

“China is ready to leapfrog the USA in AI. The US initiative has NO money,” tweeted one skeptic, Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Karl Freund.

While I wholeheartedly agree that the United States must not cede AI leadership to China or any other country, I find some of the critiques of the initiative overwrought. In fact, even if its value is largely symbolic – more of a vision statement than a detailed blueprint – I still believe the initiative can help move the national AI agenda forward.


Let’s unpack a few things.

While many talk about AI in the context of a rivalry between two superpowers – and it well may be that in some ways – AI is unlike similar global competitions of the past. Take the 20th...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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