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Trump admin launches Nationwide AI Initiative Workplace

The White Home at this time introduced the launch of its Nationwide AI Initiative Workplace, marking what ought to be President Trump‘s ultimate manipulation of the nation’s gutted Workplace of Science and Know-how Coverage (OSTP).

In keeping with an OSTP press launch:

The Workplace is charged with overseeing and implementing the USA nationwide AI technique and can function the central hub for Federal coordination and collaboration in AI analysis and policymaking throughout the federal government, in addition to with personal sector, academia, and different stakeholders.

Background: Over the course of the Trump presidency, the OSTP was whittled down from a file 135 staffers beneath President Barack Obama to a mere 35. Whereas the workplace itself operated beneath a skeleton crew, it’s nonetheless managed to create a fundsoutline coverage for, and legislate the implementation of the Nationwide AI Initiative Workplace.

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In impact this merely codifies what the White Home has been doing since day one of many Trump presidency, particularly sending profitable contracts to Trump-friendly AI distributors such because the Peter Thiel-backed Palantir or the controversial facial recognition firm Clearview AI.

It is because, again in 2018, Trump primarily made himself the nation’s official AI advisor. As I wrote on the time:

The particular person elected POTUS is, by default, a co-chair of the [National Science and Technology Council] NSTC. And not using a director or a fellow co-chair, Trump formally advises himself. This provides him unilateral management over all the committee, with the choice to defer judgment to junior members.

Fast take: The workplace’s pointers are just about toothless in that they require the group to pursue the adoption of ethics insurance policies, however don’t truly direct nor make particular strategies in regards to the nation’s AI practices. In different phrases, the workplace is beneath orders to pursue moral AI however has no treatment for guiding the moral use of AI by the US authorities.

Whereas particulars of the precise machinations of the Nationwide AI Initiative Workplace are scarce, it stands to cause legislating its existence within the ultimate days of the Trump presidency will make it harder for the incoming Joe Biden administration to extricate the nation from its present offers with the personal sector.

We reached out to the White Home and OSTP for remark however have been referred to at this time’s press launch.

Printed January 12, 2021 — 17:42 UTC

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