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Image: Dong Wenjie/Getty Images

Trump administration officials and Silicon Valley execs will discuss some of the hottest questions about artificial intelligence later this week, including whether the technology can evolve in an ethical way without new government regulations.

Why it matters: The all-day Thursday meeting is the most public effort by the Trump White House so far to wrap its head around AI, although staffers have been talking with people outside the White House about the topic for months.

The potential for regulation of the universe of AI technologies looms over the meeting. A draft agenda distributed by the White House says that one major topic of discussion will be removing “barriers to AI innovation in the United States.”

  • “When [the Office of Science and Technology Policy] set the session up one of the first things they said to me on the phone was, ‘We believe in an approach that lets industry innovate and does not have government regulate in a precautionary way,’” said top IBM lobbyist Chris Padilla, noting he was paraphrasing the White House’s comments.

What we’re hearing: Expect several companies to raise the importance of developing AI in an ethical and responsible way.

  • Facebook, facing a confidence crisis after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, will raise the issue of ethically approaching the questions posed by AI. Google has similarly presented itself as a thoughtful player in the artificial intelligence landscape.
  • Several older technology companies — like IBM and Microsoft — are trying to portray themselves as more responsible than their younger counterparts when it comes to handling the data that's used to train AI programs. Intel, for example, put out principles for AI last year that include “rethink privacy” and “create new human employment opportunities and protect people’s’ welfare.” Its CEO, Brian Krzanich, is expected to attend the White House meeting.
  • With attendees discussing developing “the American workforce to take advantage of the benefits of AI,” expect talk of the ways that AI could automate people out of a job.

Government attendees span the federal government, representing executive agencies, the National Science Foundation and the intelligence community. Sessions later in the day will be devoted to how artificial intelligence is affecting industries like transportation, agriculture and healthcare.

The big picture: The United States is racing against, among others, China and countries in the European Union to dominate what's expected to be a gigantic new market. That rivalry is likely to come up in the meeting, too. Dean Garfield, the president of the Information Technology Industry Council, said that it was unknown whether the White House has “the internal capacity” to keep the U.S. competitive with other countries on AI, because “we know for a fact that there is that human power focused on AI in Europe, China and other parts of the world.”

The bottom line: Many of the administration's goals — like limiting regulation — seem in line with what much of the industry wants.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February — FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated".
  2. Vaccines: Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Beijing Olympic Committee lowers COVID testing threshold ahead of Games — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker