Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

White House told to get smart on AI

White House told to get smart on AI

As a result, it needs to prove to the tech industry heavyweights gathered at the White House that it is serious about AI.

"In the summer of 1956, a dozen American scientists gathered on Dartmouth's campus with the goal to 'find out how to make machines solve the kinds of problems now reserved for humans.'" said Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the president for technology policy and acting head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In prepared remarks, he said, "We didn't cut the lines before Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call; we didn't regulate flight before the Wright Brothers took off at Kitty Hawk".

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The White House today announced to host a summit on artificial intelligence, bringing together various experts, academicians and industry officials to discuss a host of issues related to this fast emerging field.

John Holdren, who was the top presidential science adviser during the Obama administration, warned that the Trump administration's late entry into outlining its approach to AI reflects broader concerns about its commitment to technological advancement.

He said recommendations issued by the since-disbanded U.S. Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Taskforce would be a good starting point for a "definitive" U.S. national strategy on AI.

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In a bid to overtake the USA, the Chinese government has made a 10-fold increase in AI output a national priority for coming years, and many local companies are deploying machine-learning systems to update banking services, identify faces in crowds and control drones. The gathering signals US commitment to artificial intelligence at a time when other countries are boosting their own investments, according to an AI expert at Cornell University.

There is little doubt that USA tech companies and universities are already at the forefront in developing self-driving cars, robotics, smarter health diagnostics and other advances that rely on increasingly intelligent machines.

"Privacy, cybersecurity, ethics, and potential employment impact are all worthy of careful analysis", Krzanich said.

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Arvind Krishna, senior vice-president and director of IBM Research who attended the meeting, said in a statement that he emphasised that AI should be able to explain the predictions and determinations it reaches "so people can trust it". That perspective seems to have shifted, as Kratsios argued Thursday that job displacement is "inevitable" and that "we can't sit idle, hoping eventually the market will sort it out". STEM refers to a group of academic disciplines comprising science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft are among dozens of tech firms attending.

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