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the white house


Wherever Republicans Gather These Days, COVID Follows. Could the VP Debate Be the Same?

Mother Jones

After months spent traveling to packed rallies, refusing to wear masks in public, and throwing parties while the rest of the country was coping with the spread of the coronavirus, Donald Trump and the GOP are dealing personally with an outbreak that almost anybody could've seen coming. Trump tested positive and has been hospitalized with the virus, and many of those closest to him, including first lady Melania, campaign manager Bill Stepien, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former adviser Kellyanne Conway, and close aide Hope Hicks, have all tested positive. And yet, even though the aggressive flouting of public health guidelines is precisely what led to this coronavirus cluster at the highest levels of government, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) After Trump tested positive, one would have thought that both sides would make an effort to make the venue safer. Finally, after some haggling about how far apart the two candidates would stand--with the Democrats arguing for more safety--the debate commission agreed to place the podiums 12 feet apart and set plexiglass between the candidates.


After Trump's Coronavirus Diagnosis, What's His Medical Outlook?

The New Yorker

In a midnight tweet, the President of the United States revealed that he and the First Lady have both tested positive for the coronavirus, raising concerns about his health and upending an already chaotic campaign season just thirty-two days before the election. The virus--which has transformed American life, killed more than two hundred thousand Americans, and devastated the U.S. economy--now threatens the health of the President and senior government officials. The White House has said that the President is experiencing mild symptoms; even so, they are signs of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. From here, his illness might dissipate or grow much more severe. For the moment, President Trump's illness is mild.


TikTok owner picks Oracle over Microsoft as US tech partner

Boston Herald

The owner of TikTok has chosen Oracle over Microsoft as the American tech partner that could help keep the popular video-sharing app running in the U.S., according to a person familiar with the deal who was not authorized to speak publicly about it. President Donald Trump's administration has threatened to ban TikTok by Sept. 20 and ordered owner ByteDance to sell its U.S. business, claiming national security risks due to its Chinese ownership. The government worries about user data being funneled to Chinese authorities. TikTok denies it is a national security risk and is suing to stop the administration from enacting the threatened ban. TikTok and the White House declined to comment Sunday.


Former Google chief: US spending key to winning AI race against China – Government & civil service news

#artificialintelligence

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said the US government must pour more funding into artificial intelligence (AI) research if it is to avert Chinese dominance in the field. Speaking during an online event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) think tank last Tuesday, Schmidt warned that the US is losing the AI race. "China is on its way to surpass [the US] in many, many ways," he said. "We need to take them seriously… they're going to end up with a bigger economy, more R&D investments, better quality research, wider applications of technology, and a stronger computing infrastructure." Schmidt, who is chair of the US defence department's Defense Innovation Advisory Board, described China's potential dominance in AI as a security threat that could lead to "high-tech authoritarianism" worldwide.


White House announces $1B investment for AI and quantum computing hubs – TechCrunch

#artificialintelligence

Building out its previous commitment, the White House is announcing a $1 billion investment into two of tech's most promising frontiers, AI and quantum computing. Last year, the Trump administration rolled out an executive order on AI declaring its intention to bolster U.S. dominance in the field, but the order didn't address much in the way of funding its plans. This February, the Trump administration called for more than two billion dollars to be invested in non-defense AI and quantum research by 2022. The White House's new initiative will fund a series of academic and private sector R&D hubs linked to federal agencies to work on foundational problems and "pursue transformational advances" across topics like quantum computing, machine learning, computer vision. In a statement, U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios called the institutes "world-class hubs for accelerating American innovation and building the 21st century American workforce."


Huawei, long resilient, suffers as U.S. ramps up pressure

The Japan Times

BEIJING – For nearly a decade, Huawei kept its worldwide sales growing even as Washington told U.S. phone companies not to buy its network equipment and lobbied allies to reject China's first global tech brand as a security threat. Focusing on Europe, Asia, Africa and China's booming market, Huawei became the biggest maker of switching gear and a major smartphone brand. As the White House cut off access to American components and Google's popular music and other smartphone services, Huawei unveiled its own processor chips and app development. Last year's sales rose 19 percent to $123 billion (¥13 trillion). But now Huawei Technologies Ltd. is suffering in earnest, as Washington intensifies a campaign to slam the door on access to foreign markets and components in its escalating feud with Beijing over technology and security.


The White House is set to boost AI funding by 30 percent

#artificialintelligence

A budget proposal from the White House would boost funding for AI by around 30 percent as the US aims to retain its technological supremacy. Countries around the world are vastly increasing their budgets for AI, and with good reason. Just look at Gartner's Hype Cycle released yesterday to see how important the technology is expected to be over the next decade. Russian president Vladimir Putin famously said back in 2017 that the nation which leads in AI "will become the ruler of the world". Putin said that AI offers unprecedented power, including military power, to any government that leads in the field.


White House Plans to Boost AI, Quantum Funding by 30%

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

The proposal includes funding to develop AI research institutes, formed by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Agriculture and other agencies, the administration said. It also includes $25 million in funding for the Energy Department to build an early-stage quantum internet, which uses the principles of quantum mechanics to more securely transmit data. AI and quantum information science, an area of study that includes quantum-based cryptography, communication and quantum computing, are critical for economic growth and national security, said Michael Kratsios, U.S. chief technology officer. "We need to make sure we're winning and leading in the technologies of today…and also in technology that will define our future," Mr. Kratsios said. The White House's fiscal year 2021 budget proposal includes $1.5 billion for AI, up from about $1.12 billion in 2020, and $699 million for quantum information science, up from about $579 million in 2020.


The White House Announces a Plan to Speed the Rollout of 5G

WIRED

The White House and Defense Department on Monday announced a plan to accelerate the process by making a crucial new chunk of spectrum available to the wireless industry. The spectrum, which telecom companies will share with the Pentagon, aims to help wireless carriers offer 5G more broadly across the US. It also should generate billions of dollars for the US Treasury when auctioned off. The frequency is currently being used for high-power defense radar, but the DoD has determined that it can be freed up without affecting military systems. "It's a big deal," for the wireless industry, says Jason Leigh, an analyst at IDC who focuses on 5G.


Hurd and Kelly propose new workforce AI strategy - FedScoop

#artificialintelligence

Lawmakers on the Hill sees a gap in the government's artificial intelligence strategy, so they're filling in. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Robin Kelly, D-Ill., published a workforce AI white paper that calls for the rethinking of American education and workforce development in order for the U.S. to keep pace in the global race for AI dominance. The lawmakers worked with the Bipartisan Policy Center to release the paper, which is the first in a series of four. Congressional staff told FedScoop the lawmakers' work is not necessarily in reaction to the White House's but meant to be "complimentary." The white paper was a year in the making after Hurd and Kelly announced their bipartisan collaboration on AI policy to make up for the Trump administration's "woefully underprepared" approach to support American AI development, as Kelly put it.