The United States is engaged in an increasingly bitter trade war with China. And while American companies like Google and Amazon are now leaders in the field, A.I. experts are concerned that China could surpass the United States in the development of technologies that will power surveillance systems and autonomous weapons as well as driverless cars and a wide range of internet services. In July 2017, Chinese unveiled a plan to become the world leader in A.I., aiming to create an industry worth $150 billion to its economy by 2030, and two Chinese cities promised to invest $7 billion in the effort. Other governments, too, began making large investments, including South Korea, Britain, France and Canada. In the United States, the Defense Department has accelerated efforts to embrace A.I., shifting $75 million of its annual budget to a new office that will develop these technologies.
It's been an eventful week in tech. Amazon announced it would abandon plans to open one of its two HQ2 locations in New York City, and the company also acquired Wi-Fi mesh network startup Eero for an undisclosed sum -- a hint at Amazon's future smart home ambitions. The California Department of Motor Vehicles released reports from companies currently testing self-driving cars -- like Apple, Alphabet's Waymo, and GM Cruise. Google pledged to spend $13 billion on U.S. datacenters and offices in 24 states this year, and driverless truck startup TuSimple raised $95 million at a $1 billion valuation, joining the ranks of Aurora and Nuro as one of the best-funded companies in the autonomous vehicle industry. Nearly lost in the shuffle was President Trump's signing on Monday of an executive order establishing a program -- the American AI Initiative -- that formalizes several of the proposals made last spring during the White House's summit on AI.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says Warren should focus'more on her heritage' than investigating his businesses Trump: People saying wall hasn't made difference in El Paso are'full of crap' GOP promotes Trump line mirroring Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign slogan MORE on Monday signed an executive order laying out a national plan to boost artificial intelligence (AI) technology, amid growing concern that the U.S. is losing out to China. The executive order directs federal agencies to prioritize and set aside funding for AI programs, while opening up the way for researchers and developers to access more government data. "Continued American leadership in Artificial Intelligence is of paramount importance to maintaining the economic and national security of the United States," Trump said in a statement, accompanying the order. The order directs all federal agencies to look into launching and expanding AI initiatives that promote their missions. The order also asks a coalition of government bodies to develop a set of national "regulatory" standards around AI, which the U.S. currently lacks.