The White House and President Donald Trump are creating an artificial intelligence task force. Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios announced the new committee on Thursday in Washington, D.C., during an AI summit with government officials, members of academia, and several companies like Google (goog), Microsoft (msft), and Amazon (amzn), according to news site FedScoop. The new Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence will operate under the National Science and Technology Council and consist of several federal officials from various government agencies like the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the report said. "As artificial intelligence transforms everything from agriculture to manufacturing to transportation, the potential for AI remains breathtaking," Kratsios said in prepared remarks. "But we cannot be passive.
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.
Agencies should look to early artificial intelligence adopters in government and industry when crafting strategies for adopting such technologies, according to a new report. Deloitte surveyed about 1,100 executives from U.S. organizations using AI in the third quarter of 2018 -- 10% of them from the public sector -- and found 74% of respondents felt the technologies would be "very" or "critically" important within two years. But government is lagging behind its peers in adopting the new technologies, according to the study. Bill Eggers, executive director of Deloitte's Center for Government Insights, said this reflects agencies' investment and strategizing around AI. "Governments were on the lower end of the AI maturity curve compared to other industries, and it's certainly no surprise that financial services and technology companies were the higher end," Eggers told FedScoop. "The reason why this might be is both a skills gap issue, but also the public sector is investing the least in AI of all the different industries that we looked at."
The government can support the development of artificial intelligence by helping educate the public on the technology's potential applications and establishing an ethics policy on its use, several experts told the White House in response to a recent call for public input on future of AI. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy submitted a request for information earlier this summer to help develop its stance on artificial intelligence, and several organizations responded to the call by outlining benefits and the challenges they believe researchers and policymakers will encounter as AI develops. The government needs to educate the public on artificial intelligence and dispel theories that it will lead to a robot apocalypse, Joshua New, policy analyst for the Center for Data Innovation, told FedScoop. "Destigmatizing it in the public sphere, saying, 'This is like a great technological benefit, we should be pursuing it aggressively,' I think that's the most important thing that the government can do," New said. The Center for Data Innovation responded to the RFI by noting that government should continue to talk about the benefits of AI and attempt to dispel fears of the technology.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) said on Nov. 7 that it would average 20.5 million packages per day through the remainder of the year. That adds up to a projected 800 million package deliveries between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. The USPS is making an investment in new artificial intelligence technology to make the processing of those millions of packages more efficient. Although it will not impact this holiday season's shipments, the USPS is testing a range of hardware and software solutions from Nvidia to speed up the processing of packages, according to a November statement. Engineering teams from the Postal Service and Nvidia have been collaborating for several months on the project.