At a White House summit on artificial intelligence (AI) Thursday, the Trump administration acknowledged that even though the technology is likely to take jobs from human employees, it wouldn’t stand in the way of its development.
“To the greatest degree possible, we will allow scientists and technologists to freely develop their next great inventions right here in the United States,” technology policy advisor Michael Kratsios said during the summit.
At this point, there’s almost no question that AI will replace some jobs. Kratsios even said during the summit that “to a certain degree, job displacement is inevitable.” However, Kratsios also urged the public to adapt to the coming changes, rather than staying idle.
SEE: IT leader’s guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)
However, questions still remain as to what types of jobs will be replaced, and how many. Research firm Gartner posited at the end of 2017 that AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs, but will also create 2.3 million more by 2020 to offset that.
However, instead of outright job replacement, some leaders see AI as a complement to current jobs. A 2018 Dell research report found that 82% of business leaders believe human/robot hybrid teams will be a reality in five years.
The summit was attended by executives from more than 30 companies including Intel, Oracle, Ford, Boeing, Mastercard, and Microsoft. When addressing what these companies are developing in AI, Kratsios said that the government wouldn’t “dictate what is researched and developed. Instead we will offer resources and the freedom to explore.”
Another big part of the summit was the formation of a committee focused on AI programs and research in the US government. Leadership from the Office of Science and Technology Policy will chair the committee, which itself will be a part of the National Science and Technology Council, as noted by our sister site ZDNet.
“This select committee will be comprised of the most senior R&D officials across the federal government,” Kratsios said at the summit. “It will align interagency R&D priorities and improve planning and coordination of federal AI investments.”
While the committee will likely foster interagency cooperation on AI projects, without representation from private sector tech companies it may have difficult coordinating with the tech elite.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- The Trump administration recently promised that it wouldn’t stand in the way ot AI innovation, allowing it to “freely develop” in the US.
- The White House recently named a committee of federal AI experts to examine the future impacts of the technology.