White House To Host Tech Execs For Discussion About AI

Artificial Intelligence

Executives from tech companies including Amazon, Google, and Facebook are expected to travel to the White House this week to discuss the country’s future in artificial intelligence (AI).

According to The Washington Post, representatives from 38 major U.S. firms will be in Washington, D.C. to talk about how the Trump administration can assist the nation’s AI efforts through funding and regulation.

For its part, the White House wants to question academics, government officials and AI developers about ways to adapt regulations to advance AI in fields including agriculture, health care and transportation.

“Whether you’re a farmer in Iowa, an energy producer in Texas, a drug manufacturer in Boston, you are going to be using these techniques to drive your business going forward,” Michael Kratsios, deputy chief technology officer at the White House, said in a recent interview.

In addition to the previously mentioned companies, others expected to attend include representatives from Microsoft, Nvidia and Oracle, as well as other businesses like Ford, Land O’Lakes, Mastercard, Pfizer and United Airlines.

Technology experts have warned that the United States is not doing enough to bolster its position in AI — especially since other nations have been much more aggressive. For example, France said this year it would invest $1.8 billion (€1.5 billion) in AI research by 2022; the UK is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the field; and last year, China announced plans to become the world’s dominant force in AI by 2030.

While America hasn’t made any bold announcements, it has taken small steps toward the future. In September, for example, the Trump administration said it would commit at least $200 million for grants for education in STEM subjects. Last month, the FDA gave its first approval to an AI system that would diagnose eye disease without a doctor.

In addition, the White House has developed its approach to regulations of drones and self-driving cars.

“There are a lot of people who say that AI is going to be about job destruction. It is not. It is going to be about job movement,” said Dean Garfield, the president of the Information Technology Industry Council. “So I think the White House is actually in a unique place to mobilize a movement that’s necessary to prepare the American workforce for what will be here in the next 20 years, and that needs to be comprehensive and strategic.”