The White House plans to convene executives Thursday from Amazon, Facebook, Google, Intel, and 34 other major U.S. companies as it seeks to supercharge the deployment of powerful robots, algorithms, and the broader field of artificial intelligence.
The Trump administration intends to ask academics, government officials, and AI developers about ways to adapt regulations to advance AI in such fields as agriculture, health care, and transportation, according to a draft schedule of the event. And they’re set to discuss the U.S. government’s power to fund cutting-edge research into such technologies as machine learning.
For the White House, the challenge is to strike a balance between the benefits of computers that can spot disease or drive cars and the reality that jobs — or lives — are at stake in the age of AI.
“Whether you’re a farmer in Iowa, an energy producer in Texas, [or] 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.
Among those expected to be in the room for that private gathering Thursday will be representatives from such tech giants as Microsoft, Nvidia, and Oracle, as well as other businesses such as Ford, Land O’Lakes, Mastercard, Pfizer, and United Airlines, according to the White House. Slated to represent Facebook is Jerome Pesenti, its vice president of AI, the company confirmed. Amazon plans to send Rohit Prasad, the head scientist for its voice-assistant Alexa. Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich is also expected to attend.
By the Trump administration’s own estimate, the U.S. government spent more than $2 billion in unclassified programs alone during the 2017 fiscal year to research and develop AI technology, according to data furnished this week by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. That doesn’t include spending at the Pentagon and key intelligence agencies far removed from public view, or additional boosts that the White House has sought for 2019.