White House hosts summit, looks to AI for R&D, innovation

By Laura Lovett
04:12 pm

AI has been the buzz word this year across multiple industries and now top government officials are starting to take notice. Yesterday the White House hosted a summit on Artificial Intelligence for American Industry, where it announced a new AI task force. Though the details about the task force are scare, the summit highlighted the use of AI in healthcare. 

The summit included over 100 senior government officials and tech experts from academia, industrial research labs, and top business who are using AI.

During break out sessions, experts and players in the field discussed opportunities AI in drug research. 

“America is blessed with a unique R&D ecosystem that taps into the limitless bounds of American ingenuity,” a White House press statement said. “Attendees discussed our free market approach to scientific discovery that harnesses the combined strengths of government, industry, and academia and examined new ways to form stronger public-private partnerships to accelerate AI R&D.”

In addition to the discussion about research and development, breakout groups talked about how to deal with regulations and possibilities for removing barriers for AI innovation in the US, as well as ideas to create a workforce that could take advantage of AI benefits. Participants were also able to meet in industry-specific sessions to share the ways that AI could work in their specific field. 

“Artificial intelligence holds tremendous potential as a tool to empower the American worker, drive growth in American industry, and improve the lives of the American people,” Michael Kratsio, deputy assistant to the President for Technology Policy, said in a statement. “Our free market approach to scientific discovery harnesses the combined strengths of government, industry, and academia, and uniquely positions us to leverage this technology for the betterment of our great nation.”

The newly formed Partnership for Artificial Intelligence and Automation in Healthcare (PATH) released a statement on the summit broadly praising the event. 

“The Partnership for Artificial Intelligence and Automation in Healthcare applauds today's White House Summit on Artificial Intelligence for American Industry,” the PATH statement said.  “AI is a growth area for US businesses and has the potential to revolutionize the delivery of healthcare by improving lives, expanding access, reducing medical errors, and reducing costs. AI can accelerate productivity gains in the healthcare sector and help overcome the overwhelming needs of less-served populations around the world.”

The Trump administration appears to be shifting its approach to AI. Last year Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Axios that the possibility of artificial intelligence supplementing human jobs was “not even on our radar screen,” and went on to estimate that such a possibility was 50 to 100 years away.

It seems the administration has changed its tune since this interview. Yesterday the White House also released a fact sheet on AI, affirming its importance and outline how the administration will support the technology, including designating funds in the FY2019 budget to AI and autonomous and unmanned systems. 

“We’re on the verge of new technological revolutions that could improve virtually every aspect of our lives, create vast new wealth for American workers and families, and open up bold, new frontiers in science, medicine, and communication,” President Donald Trump said in a statement. 


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