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White House Technology Czar Insists US Remains Tops in A.I.

Michael Kratsios, of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, claims the United States has the edge on China on AI development.

The nation’s chief technology officer insisted that the U.S. remains the global leader in artificial intelligence, amid a pitched battle with China to attain dominance.

The “United States holds the competitive edge in this field,” said Michael Kratsios, who is also deputy assistant to the president at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in a speech at a Center for Data Innovation event in Washington on Tuesday.

As part of his presentation, he announced a supplemental report to the president’s 2020 fiscal year budget that included nearly $1 billion for non-defense research and development on AI. That compares to 2016, when the federal government spent $1 billion on research and development for AI -- including money spent on defense, he said.

While noting that China was trying to catch up, Kratsios said, “Our collective investments, from the federal government and the private sector, the success of our scholars and our innovators, and the unsurpassed quality of our business and academic institutions remain unmatched.”

In backing up his claims, Kratsios said the U.S. has eight of the top 13 universities for AI. He also said the U.S. had more AI companies, and spends more on venture capital funding on AI, than its competitors.

“When you look at spending on the AI R & D from some of the worlds largest tech companies, American corporations outspent their foreign counterparts by more than 6 times this past year alone,” he said.

China and the U.S. lead the world in the global competition to dominate artificial intelligence, a study by the UN World Intellectual Property Organization concluded. But China has set a goal to become the dominant player by 2030.

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