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Wired | 05.11.18

The Trump Administration Plays Catch-Up on Artificial Intelligence

Tom Simonite

After the White House’s latest conversation about the future of AI in May 2018, Data & Society Researcher Madeleine Elish expressed concern with the current administration’s approach to AI technologies.

“Madeleine Elish, now a researcher at independent research institute Data & Society, worked on a report that emerged from a 2016 symposium co-hosted by the White House and NYU on the social and economic impacts of AI. She worries that the Trump administration’s approach stokes unhelpful perceptions of what technology policy is for.

“The development of technology and AI is not a zero sum game and it doesn’t have to be positioned as about national superiority,” Elish says. Despite Thursday’s broad-ranging discussions, she doubts the current administration has the inclination or staffing to engage with nuanced questions like how AI systems in government and industry might adversely affect vulnerable groups. Elish notes that the staff of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which led today’s meeting as it did most AI efforts for president Obama, numbered in the dozens under the last administration but is now a fraction of the size.”

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