May 10, 2018

New White House panel will dig into artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is becoming a hot topic in Washington. Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images

The White House said Thursday that it will establish a new committee bringing together officials from across the federal government to look at issues related to artificial intelligence.

Why it matters: Policymakers are taking early steps to wrap their heads around artificial intelligence. But Silicon Valley isn't waiting for them to catch up, debuting developments such as virtual assistants that can convincingly call a restaurant host to make a dinner reservation.

The details: The new Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence will include "the most senior R&D officials of the Federal Government" and offer guidance to the administration on research priorities, according to a White House fact sheet.

  • It will also "identify opportunities to leverage Federal data and computational resources to support our national AI R&D ecosystem," the White House said. The tech industry has been calling for access to more government data, which they think could be used to improve AI systems.
  • The development comes despite the fact that the White House hasn't staffed certain key positions, like U.S. CTO and presidential science adviser, that would normally work on these topics.

What's next: Officials will talk with industry representatives Thursday afternoon about issues like ethics in AI technologies and the potential for their rollout to disrupt the lives of American workers.

Yes, but: "[T]o a certain degree job displacement is inevitable. But we can’t sit idle, hoping eventually the market will sort it out," Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Policy Michael Kratsios is expected to say. "We must do what Americans have always done: adapt."

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Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

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White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief presents a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.

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