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By Bruce Sussman
Mon | Feb 11, 2019 | 2:03 PM PST

What is the American AI Initiative?

Perhaps you heard that President Trump just signed a new executive order on Artificial Intelligence, but what is it intended to do?

5 things the American AI Initiative promises to accomplish

The idea is that the directive will propel Artificial Intelligence development in the United States, build the AI workforce, and also govern it, so that the worst fears about AI do not come true.

[RELATED: Might I Become a Destroyer of Worlds? Fears of an AI Researcher]

With this in mind, here is what the 2019 American AI initiative puts down in writing.

1. Investing in AI Research and Development (R&D)

"The initiative focuses on maintaining our Nation’s strong, long-term emphasis on high-reward, fundamental R&D in AI by directing Federal agencies to prioritize AI investments in their R&D missions. These investments will strengthen and leverage America’s unique and vibrant R&D ecosystem of industry, academia, and government, and prioritize Federal AI spending on cutting-edge ideas that can directly benefit the American people."

2. Unleashing AI Resources

"The initiative directs agencies to make Federal data, models, and computing resources more available to America’s AI R&D experts, researchers, and industries to foster public trust and increase the value of these resources to AI R&D experts, while maintaining the safety, security, civil liberties, privacy, and confidentiality protections we all expect. This action will drive our top-notch AI research toward new technological breakthroughs and promote scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and national security. These efforts will work in concert with the President’s Management Agenda and implementing the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary, (OPEN) Government Data Act."

3. Setting AI Governance Standards

"As part of the American AI Initiative, Federal agencies will foster public trust in AI systems by establishing guidance for AI development and use across different types of technology and industrial sectors. This guidance will help Federal regulatory agencies develop and maintain approaches for the safe and trustworthy creation and adoption of new AI technologies. This initiative also calls for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to lead the development of appropriate technical standards for reliable, robust, trustworthy, secure, portable, and interoperable AI systems."

4. Building the AI Workforce

"To prepare our workforce with the skills needed to adapt and thrive in this new age of AI, the American AI Initiative calls for agencies to prioritize fellowship and training programs to help American workers gain AI-relevant skills through apprenticeships, skills programs, fellowships, and education in computer science and other growing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. This action will help educate the AI R&D workforce our Nation needs to create and embrace new AI technologies."

5. International Engagement and Protecting our AI Advantage

"The Trump Administration is committed to promoting an international environment that supports AI R&D and opens markets for American AI industries while also ensuring that the technology is developed in a manner consistent with our Nation’s values and interests. Federal agencies will also develop and implement an action plan to protect the advantage of the United States in AI and technology critical to United States national and economic security interests against strategic competitors and foreign adversaries."

After reading these five focus areas for Artificial Intelligence in the U.S., you may want more details. So do we.

According to the White House, details will emerge over the next few months as federal agencies are assigned to tackle the listed objectives.

For now, we can only assume this is President Trump's way of acting on something he said during his 2019 State of the Union speech:

"Continued American leadership in Artificial Intelligence is of paramount importance to maintaining the economic and national security of the United States."