Innovation

3 key discussions Trump must have with tech leaders about AI

The White House is hosting a meeting on the future of artificial intelligence in the US. Here are the top issues the Trump administration must consider.

On Thursday, the White House will host a meeting on the future of artificial intelligence (AI) in the US, inviting companies including Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet to participate in discussions with senior government officials, Reuters reported.

Executives from 34 companies, including Intel, Oracle, Ford, Boeing, Mastercard, Microsoft, and Accenture, will attend the daylong meeting, along with academic researchers. On the government side, representatives from the Pentagon and US Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Transportation will take part as well, the report said.

The event will focus on AI innovation and research and development, and examine how to remove barriers to application, Reuters reported.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

The meeting is "an important step to building collaboration between government and industry," Dean Garfield, the president of the Information Technology Industry Council, told Reuters. It also comes alongside rising fears that China will soon overtake the US in terms of AI research and development.

With AI poised to majorly impact almost every area of our lives, the White House has its work cut out for it. Here are three crucial topics that the Trump Administration should seek to address in this week's AI meeting.

1. AI's impact on jobs

Predictions about how AI will impact the workforce seem to fall into utopian and dystopian extremes, while the reality will likely be somewhere in between, experts predict. AI is poised to create 2.3 million jobs by 2020, while eliminating only 1.8 million jobs, according to Gartner. In any case, policymakers should work with businesses to prepare for the coming AI revolution by investing in skills and training, focusing on data protection, and investing in research and development.

Future jobs will likely involve a lot of human/robot collaboration, Gartner predicts. AI has the potential to free up human workers to better engage employees in their work, add more customer value, and become more confident in their job, Forrester found.

"Automation will cannibalize some jobs, create others, but for most employees, it will transform their work," Forrester vice president and principal analyst Craig Le Clair told TechRepublic. "Job replacement is not as big an issue as how jobs are restructured. The workplace needs to be reimagined by government and business."

2. Autonomous travel

With Ford and Alphabet on the guest list, and driverless cars and taxis already on the roads, it's likely that autonomous travel will be part of the AI discussion. Self-driving taxis and delivery vehicles are predicted by many to be the first widespread applications of self-driving technology, with the UK government investing £8.1 million in semi-autonomous trucking trials across its roadways this year, and Tesla teasing its autonomous trucks as well.

Regulations are needed to ensure these vehicles can operate safely on the roads besides humans, especially after a recent pedestrian fatality at the hands of an Uber operating in self-driving mode.

"Without direction from the federal government, the policy will be entirely set by state and local governments and will be wildly different by area, causing confusion and will delay the deployment of the technology," said Mike Ramsey, a research director at Gartner told TechRepublic.

3. Cybersecurity

While automated tools are helping many businesses close the cybersecurity skills gap, 91% of cybersecurity professionals are concerned about hackers using AI against companies in cyberattacks, one report found. Others fear that China and other nations will weaponize AI and use it to improve its military, shifting the economic and military balances of power between the nation and the US, according to a Center for a New American Security report.

With that being the case, it's imperative for the White House to engage in discussions around how to use AI to protect national assets from threats.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:
  • On Thursday, the White House will host a meeting on the future of AI in the US, inviting several tech companies and researchers to discuss the technology with government officials.
  • To gain the most value, the meeting should address critical topics such as AI's impact on jobs, autonomous travel, and cybersecurity.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/AndrewSoundarajan

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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