The announcement earlier in May from the White House was blunt: The federal government is creating a committee of academics and private industry experts to explore the untapped potential of artificial intelligence, or AI – the set of technologies that allows computers to think and make connections just as humans.
"We cannot be passive," Michael Kratsios, deputy chief technology officer of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said on May 10 at a summit focused on AI. "To realize the full potential of AI for the American people, it will require the combined efforts of industry, academia, and government."
Kratsios' comments and the meeting were acknowledgments of the growing importance AI occupies in modern life. The technology already is widespread around the world, used in everyday conveniences such as autopilot functions on planes to ride-sharing apps, voice recognition and driverless cars. Leaders also say its untapped potential is far-ranging.
"Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world," Russian President Vladimir Putin told students last fall.
As the U.S. considers a more formal plan to preserve its status as a global leader in applied technology, some experts are criticizing the Trump administration for not moving faster in research, investment and developing a national strategy on AI already such as its main competitor, China.
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