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Trump Administration Calls For 30 Pct. Boost In AI, Quantum Spending

August 14, 2020 at 09:37PM

Artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum information science will get a boost if Congress approves the Trump administration’s nearly one-third spending increase in next year’s budget.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House’s 2021 budget proposal includes $1.5 billion for AI, up from $1.12 billion in 2020, and $699 million for quantum information science, an increase from about $579 million in 2020.

The total funding of $2.2 billion represents a 30 percent increase over the $1.7 billion in spending across the two technologies. 

“We need to make sure we’re winning and leading in the technologies of today … and also in technology that will define our future,” Michael Kratsios, U.S. chief technology officer, told the WSJ. 

Kratsios added that AI and quantum information science are essential for national security and global economic growth.

The proposal, which was released on Friday (Aug. 14), comes as China and other countries are investing in these emerging technologies. If approved, a portion of the funding would be funneled to AI research institutes at the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies, the administration said.

Also included in the initiative is $25 million for the U.S. Department of Energy to build a quantum internet, which uses the principles of quantum mechanics to securely transmit data.

Last year, the Center for Data Innovation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C., reported that China is adopting AI at a faster rate than the U.S. and the European Union, in part because the Chinese understand its value. A second report in 2019 also found that China is gaining ground on the U.S. in AI research.

The Seattle-based Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence found that China has seen a rise in the number of its AI research papers that are among the top 10 percent most cited, which shows the highest-impact research. While around 47 percent of those papers came from the U.S. in 1982, only 29 percent originate from the States now. China’s share, however, has risen to more than 26 percent.

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