As expected the President signed an executive order on artificial intelligence on February 11, 2019. Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence is centered around maintaining U.S. leadership in research and development and technological superiority in A.I. with a nod toward workforce development and guidance for regulation of certain A.I. applications.
The E.O. is high-level and the language used is very general and broad. No specific R&D budget recommendations or program directions are made, nor are any federal research agencies given leadership roles. The order calls on federal science agencies to prioritize AI within their FY 2020 budget requests (which should be close to final at this point) and within existing FY 2019 amounts, despite the fiscal year being nearly half over and final 2019 funds still not approved by Congress.
The document sets out key objectives for sustaining U.S. preeminence in artificial intelligence technology. These include: promoting sustained investment in AI R&D; enhanced access to high-quality and fully traceable Federal data, models, and computing resources; reducing barriers to the use of AI technologies to promote their application while protecting U.S. economic and national security, civil liberties, privacy, and values; ensuring technical standards minimize vulnerability to attacks from malicious actors and maintain innovation, public trust, and public confidence in AI systems; and development of the next generation of American AI researchers and users through apprenticeships; skills programs; and education in STEM fields with an emphasis on computer science.
The E.O. also calls for an action plan to protect the advantage of the United States in AI and technology critical to United States economic and national security interests against strategic competitors and foreign adversaries.