Trump directed all agencies to prioritize research and development funding for AI and prepare implementation strategies to take full advantage of the power of AI technology.
"If there's no implementation plan behind the EO - with details, deadlines, and funding - then it may be worse than no EO at all", Wendy Anderson, general manager for defense and national security at SparkCognition, told reporters.
The order tasks Mick Mulvaney-the director of the Office of Management and Budget who also serves as Trump's acting chief of staff-to issue a memo on AI within 180 days to federal agencies.
Vivek Wadhwa, distinguished fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, discusses how the expansion of artificial intelligence may affect USA employment.
Directing regulatory agencies to establish guidance for AI development and use across technologies and industrial sectors, it calls upon the National Institute of Standards and Technology to lead the development of appropriate technical and safety standards for AI systems.
Trump envisioned AI technology affecting almost every federal department and agency, creating new opportunities for efficiency while simultaneously raising concerns about privacy rights. The project is set to involve officials from a number of other agencies, including the Department of Defense.
So this is a good first step, West says, but China- the major competitor to the USA - wants to grow its AI industry to $150 billion by 2030, with the aim of being the biggest player in a field that many consider transformational.
The initiative "will help US firms maintain their global advantage", but the administration needs to take some subsequent steps to make the initiative truly transformative, Daniel Castro, VP at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, wrote in a statement. But the country is going to put vast resources towards changing that, and China already has more patents. Several other nations, including Britain, France and Canada, have also taken steps recently to become more competitive in the global AI race.
"I think it just puts another spotlight on the importance of this particular technology", said Bernard Arulanandam, Vice President of Research at the University of Texas San Antonio. Canada, France, South Korea and the United Kingdom have also worked to invest more in their nations' A.I. industries, thereby increasing competition with the U.S.
The order notes that the United States "must train current and future generations of American workers with the skills to develop and apply AI technologies to prepare them for today's economy and jobs of the future", pointing to the "heads of implementing agencies" to prioritize grants "within existing Federal fellowship and service programs". A study out last month showed almost one in four San Antonio jobs were at high risk of being automated.