Computers programmed to think and respond like human beings, only faster, are already being used to diagnose diseases, drive cars and predict natural disasters. And artificial intelligence (AI) is only going to get more powerful.

Recognizing the importance of AI, President Trump announced the American AI Initiative on February 11 to promote AI research and development and provide ethical guidelines for the industry.

“Continued American leadership in artificial intelligence is of paramount importance to maintaining the economic and national security of the United States,” President Trump said.

Computer-generated image of smart car (© John Locher/AP Images)
A translucent screen shows smart-car technology at the Intel booth during the CES International trade show in Las Vegas. (© John Locher/AP Images)

The initiative has five areas of focus:

  • Investing in AI research and development through government agencies and support for the private sector and academia.
  • Unleashing government resources such as federal data and computer models.
  • Developing standards and guidelines for the future of AI research.
  • Building the AI workforce by creating fellowships and training programs to help workers gain AI-relevant skills.
  • Engaging with the international community to develop an environment that supports AI research while protecting intellectual property.

The next generation of AI will have an enormous impact on people’s lives, from transforming health care to streamlining supply chains to improving education.

That’s why the initiative both encourages the development of AI and sets out the path to develop guidelines and rules to ensure that the technology is not abused.

Michael Kratsios, a White House science adviser, said in an essay in Wired magazine, “The American AI Initiative is rooted in the fundamental principle that in the United States, AI should never be used at the expense of our civil liberties and our freedoms.”