Tech leaders push for more White House focus on AI

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President Donald Trump hasn’t said much, if anything, about artificial intelligence, but his administration is warming up to the idea of investing more in the technology and finding ways to build new skills for the U.S. workers it replaces.

“The Trump administration will ensure our great nation remains the global leader in AI,” the president’s technology adviser, Michael Kratsios, said to a gathering of corporate leaders Thursday.

Kratsios was hosting the Trump White House’s first summit on artificial intelligence, convening tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft as well as major retailers, banks, drugmakers, carmakers, food companies and engineering schools.

Some in the crowd had been pushing the administration to focus more on AI and related issues in science and technology. Academic leaders have pitched for more investment in basic research.

There is little doubt that U.S. tech companies and universities are already at the forefront in developing self-driving cars, robotics, smarter health diagnostics and other advances that rely on increasingly intelligent machines. But Trump’s lack of public emphasis on both the economic promise and potential dangers of automation has contrasted with other world leaders who have made a vocal push to get their countries ahead.

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