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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."

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”