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Amazon, Google and Microsoft to attend White House AI summit

They'll discuss government support for AI research and regulations.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 8, 2018
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The Trump administration hasn't exactly been receptive to AI -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin once said it was "not even on [his] radar screen." However, it's warming up. The White House is holding a summit on May 10th where representatives from 38 companies (including Amazon, Facebook, Google and Intel) will discuss how the government can fund AI research and alter regulations to advance the technology. A Washington Post source said the government was also mulling proposals that could include providing more data for AI research.

As you might guess with this administration, jobs are bound to be on the table -- whether it's preparing the workforce for AI-dependent jobs or dealing with the potential job losses from automation. While the White House will likely push for technological leadership in AI, it may be cautious about backing initiatives that could lead to serious job losses without a clear plan to transition those workers. It may also discuss national security risks, both from foreign companies using AI as well as the consequences of domestic companies using AI to handle sensitive data.

The real question is whether or not the summit will lead to concrete action. The panel is more promising than Trump's video game meeting, which eschewed real expertise and produced few results. However, it's still up to the White House to translate the summit's findings into definitive plans. If the summit only leads to vague promises, there won't have been much point.

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