Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence Will Drive Tech and Funding Decisions

Published: February 14, 2019

Big DataCloud ComputingInnovationPolicy and LegislationPresident TrumpResearch and DevelopmentSupercomputing

President Trump’s executive order directs federal agencies to spend more money and resources on artificial intelligence research and technologies.

The Trump Administration wants to support and grow U.S. leadership and innovation in artificial intelligence (AI).  The Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence Infrastructure & Technology issued this week creates the American AI Initiative aimed at continued American leadership in AI research and development (R&D) and deployment.

In a related post to the White House web site, the Office of Science and Technology Policy described the new American AI Initiative as having five key areas of emphasis:

  1. Investing in AI Research and Development (R&D) – Federal agencies are to prioritize AI investments in their R&D missions. These investments will strengthen and leverage America’s unique and vibrant R&D ecosystem of industry, academia, and government, and prioritize Federal AI spending on cutting-edge ideas that can directly benefit the American people.
  2. Unleashing AI Resources – Agencies are to make Federal data, models, and computing resources more available to America’s AI R&D experts, researchers, and industries to drive technological breakthroughs and promote scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and national security.
  3. Setting AI Governance Standards – Agencies will establish guidance and technical standards for AI development and use across different types of technology and industrial sectors.
  4. Building the AI Workforce – Agencies are to help American workers gain AI-relevant skills through apprenticeships, skills programs, fellowships, and education in computer science and other growing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.
  5. International Engagement and Protecting our AI Advantage – The Administration will continue to promote an international environment that supports AI R&D. Agencies will also develop an action plan to protect the U.S. advantage in AI and other technology critical to our national and economic security.

Tech Implications – Data, Cloud, High-Performance Computing, etc.

According to provisions in the EO, technology-related actions that are to be taken over the next three to six months include:

  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will invite public input via a notice in the Federal Register to identify additional requests for access or quality improvements for federal data and models that would improve AI R&D and testing.  
  • OMB will investigate barriers to access or quality limitations of Federal data and models that impede AI R&D and testing, including requirements for privacy, security, formatting, governance and other considerations.
  • OMB will update implementation guidance for Enterprise Data Inventories and Source Code Inventories to support discovery and usability in AI R&D.
  • OMB is to instruct all Federal agencies on regulatory and non?regulatory approaches that advance American AI innovation and reduce barriers to the use of AI technologies
  • Federal agencies will consider methods of improving the quality, usability, and appropriate access to priority data identified by the AI research community as well as any associated resource implications.
  • The White House’s Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence (SCIA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) will make recommendations on better enabling the use of cloud computing resources for federally funded AI R&D.
  • The SCIA will provide technical expertise to the American Technology Council (ATC) regarding AI and the modernization of federal technology, data, and the delivery of digital services.
  • The Departments of Defense (DOD), Commerce, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) shall prioritize the allocation of high-performance computing resources for AI-related applications.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will develop a plan for federal engagement in the development of technical standards and related tools in support of reliable, robust, and trustworthy systems that use AI technologies.  

Agency Budget Implications for FY 2019 and Beyond

The EO directs agencies that perform or fund AI R&D to consider AI as an R&D priority in developing their budgets. These agencies are to consider appropriate actions to increase focus on AI for the rest of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and develop plans for how they will use funds in FY 2020 and beyond.

Agencies are to use the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program to communicate their plans for achieving their AI prioritization each fiscal year. Within 90 days these agencies receiving their yearly appropriations they are to identify their AI R&D priority programs and estimate the total amount that will be spent on each program.