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article imageOp-Ed: Trump admin plans US AI economic dominance? Guess again.

By Paul Wallis     May 12, 2018 in Technology
Washington - The Trump administration is planning for AI domination over other nations in so many words. The no class administration is telling the world how it’s going to dominate. The reality may be somewhat hugely different.
The theory goes:
1. The US is the current world leader in AI.
2. If they continue to lead, they continue to dominate.
3. Therefore they will continue to do what they’re already doing, and the administration will be the geniuses who thought of it.
So far, absolutely in character. Take credit for everything, do nothing yourselves. In sheer vulgarity and crassness, however, this administration is in a league of its own. Selling to rednecks doesn’t require a lot of class. It requires insect-level publicity, and that’s what this is all about.
WIRED covers the “Ain’t we great?” campaign with a slightly less than mindlessly enthusiastic article in which the trigger word “dominate” is the sole working verb. Read the WIRED article for the actual content, this is my take on it:
How utterly unexpected – The Trump administration, fearlessly agreeing with itself, is tacking its gigantic butt on to a whole class of technologies which it couldn’t even be bothered mentioning.
Maybe even double meh.
US tech has been doing a lot of deep learning, neural networks, insert barely understood names of other methodologies here, and getting somewhere. There’s no doubt that the entire AI field is bouncing along nicely, without a lot of help or guidance from “legislators” – if you can call a useless collection of grovelling skanks legislators.
So why the “dominance” motif, you ask, thoughtfully building your economic/ existential grass hut? Is it realistic? At the moment, yes. This is like saying there will be a Tuesday after a Monday, and expecting a medal for providing that information.
The rest of the week, however, to put this metaphor on some paid overtime, is likely to be a very much tougher proposition. By next metaphorical Monday, it’s anyone’s guess who’ll dominate what, and why.
The stringently backward-looking, anti-science Trump administration is hardly anyone’s idea of a great sponsor of new science. This administration is just as likely to come up with a religious or ideological reason for being anti-AI as anything else, particularly in an election year.
The World, The US, China And The Emerging AI Commercial Market
China is also hyping its AI credentials, and specifically planning to overtake the US by 2020. That won’t happen, at least not in that time frame, because the US does have a pretty convincing lead and a very solid research base. What might happen, however, is that a strongly competitive Chinese AI tech platform or several, with real world applications backing it up may be on the market.
AI is going to be a commercial commodity, and a big one. Getting in at the inception of the creation of the market is a major issue. Add to this China’s very expansive economic model for global trade, and the US has a lot of work to do in this area.
Even with the biggest domestic consumer market in the world, turning something like a whole new technology in to a consumer market/ industrial market/ technological market best seller isn’t simple. It’s expensive, time consuming, and risky. Think Betamax as the sort of AI class dead end which is very possible, and you’ve got it.
This is more like the big PC boom, in terms of broad-based technologies hitting the market. There’s every reason to believe that AI will simply absorb and manage all the other existing technologies. It’ll be the overarching technology to which all others connect.
The AI market could look like anything, and in fact be anything, from a nice home AI which is like your current, sickly sweet helpful voice interface to a simple, but really efficient business manager. AI will be essential for a vast number of different things in home and business.
The thing is this – AI will breed new AI functions, probably in huge volumes over time. AI will design its own functions, to a very large extent. On that basis, “dominance” is a bit vague, to say the least.
For example – AI works with AI the same way computers work with operating systems. If a German AI design function takes a major role in the market, global AI will respond to interact with it. Say this is a fintech AI model, using margins to negotiate deals with other market AIs on a win-win basis.
(Sorry; as you can tell from the truly effervescent choice of example, I’m an unreconstructed romantic.)
There is no good reason why this type of tech wouldn’t become very useful indeed. AI could map out a multi-asset market deal in nanoseconds, propose the deal and do it in a few more nanoseconds.
By that time the human owner of the assets, who instructed the AI to find and do a deal on a set of margins may have moved their hand a few nanometres closer to their cup of coffee. This is all doable; it’s human law and human comprehension which are the obstacles.
AI And Intellectual Property – They Wonder Decades Be A-Comin’, You Damn Hicks
What will go to hell, along with “dominance” in an uncontrollable tidal current of business and basic living, is intellectual property. Global intellectual property, (IP) is a theoretically herniated train wreck as it is. The sheer number of IP legal issues is breeding faster than humanity. AI IP will add cubic dimensions to the legal issues.
AI can do consumer law, and do it better than lawyers. AI could even write law. Whether or not “legislators” could understand it, let alone pass it, is debatable. Let’s get this as straight as possible – The only thing “dominating” will be the AI. Not nations. Not politicians. Not even business and Sacred Corporations in which geriatric gargoyles dwell.
Might as well get on with the grass huts, guys. Don’t be too surprised if AI decides the entire shambolic global economy is obsolete, and rewrites it. Dominate that? No way.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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