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AI / Federal government

At White House AI meeting, tech leaders call for a strategy

In a session with Trump administration officials and statements issued afterward, industry leaders stressed the role government can play as the uses of artificial intelligence expands.

The White House. ( photo)

Leaders from three dozen companies and federal agencies gathered at the White House on Thursday to discuss artificial intelligence.

Along with government officials, the D.C. summit gathered leaders from three dozen tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google, as well as business leaders from other industries such as energy, healthcare and transportation. A big push was to get the administration to pay attention to AI. Some pushed for the government to take a larger role in both discussing the implications of automation, as well as pushing for more research funding, according to the AP.

In a blog post, Nvidia VP of Accelerated Computing Ian Buck, who attended the meeting, voiced a need for infrastructure.

“But AI is enormously demanding in terms of computation — it requires processing hundreds of millions of data points to extract insight,” he writes. “Therefore, it’s important for us to discuss how to improve our nation’s computing infrastructure to support AI and maintain leadership in this space.”

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who also attended, pointed out in a post of his own that international powers such as China and the European Union are moving forward in developing a strategy to harness artificial intelligence, while the U.S. disbanded a task force of its own in 2016.

“A national strategy for AI will provide the necessary guideposts that enable industry and academia to innovate,” Krzanich wrote. “When the regulatory environment is known and understood, businesses and government researchers can maximize their impact by pursuing the same goals.”

He pointed out that government and industry can also play a role in assessing AI’s impact on people.

“Privacy, cybersecurity, ethics and potential employment impact are all worthy of careful analysis,” he wrote. “Governments and industry can and should work together to better understand these concerns before any new regulation is enacted.”

Representing the Trump administration was Michael Kratsios, a deputy assistant to the president for technology policy. According to Bloomberg, Kratsios stressed a “free market” approach.

“Erecting barriers to innovation does not stop the future,” Kratsios said, according to Bloomberg. “It makes the future move overseas.”

He also announced the creation of a Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, comprising senior officials from a host of federal agencies that will look at priority areas for the government to fund.

Dean Garfield, president of the D.C.–based Information Technology Industry Council, called the committee’s formation “a great first step to forge better collaboration between industry, government, and academia.”


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