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Trump signs executive order prioritising AI development

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday with the intent of fast-tracking the development and regulation of artificial intelligence in the United States.

The executive order launches the American AI Initiative, which will place United States resources toward ensuring that AI technology is made in the United States, according to Trump. 

The executive order aims to: Invest in AI research and development (R&D), increase AI resources, establish AI governance standards, better educate workers about AI, and promote an international environment that promotes AI R&D.

“Continued American leadership in AI is of paramount importance to maintaining the economic and national security of the United States and to shaping the global evolution of AI in a manner consistent with our nation’s values, policies, and priorities,” said Trump in the executive order.

The initiative will be coordinated through the National Science and Technology Council Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence (NSTC Select Committee). The co-chairs of the NSTC Select Committee will also determine which agencies will help implement the initiative.

It is unclear as of yet how Trump’s administration will apply the executive order as it does not explicitly set aside funds to be given to the initiative. The order only requires the relevant heads of agencies to develop budget proposals on AI R&D for the fiscal year 2020 and beyond.

A statement from the United States Office of Science and Technology about the new AI initiative also provided no details on what funds would be provided, or how the new policies would be put into effect.

The executive order comes at a tenuous time, with the United States being engaged in a trade war with China. Both countries have levied tit-fot-tat tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods, and Trump has made good on his pledge to escalate the trade war by directing US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to find another $200 billion worth of products to hit.

Additionally, on the same day of the order being executed, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned central European nations that deploying telecommunications equipment from Huawei “makes it more difficult for America to be present” in those countries.

According to an Axios report, Trump is said to be organising a summit in Mar-a-Lago next month with Chinese President Xi Jinping to try and end the trade war.

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