The Trump administration is to plough $1 billion into artificial intelligence (AI), 5G and quantum computing research.
The move comes amid concern among some American observers that the United States is falling behind in key emerging technologies of the future.
The $1 billion in funding comes in the form of awards from the White House, National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy (DOE), and sees the establishment of 12 new AI and QIS research and development (R&D) institutes nationwide.
“The Trump Administration is taking strong action to ensure American leadership in the industries of the future – artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information science (QIS), 5G communications, and other key emerging technologies that will shape our economy and security for years to come,” announced the White House on Wednesday.
“Together, NSF’s AI Research Institutes and DoE’s QIS Research Centers will serve as national R&D hubs for these critical industries of the future, spurring innovation, supporting regional economic growth, and training our next generation workforce,” it added.
NSF and its other federal partners are awarding $140 million over five years to a total of seven NSF-led AI Research Institutes.
According to the White House, these research and education institutes will focus on a range of AI R&D areas, such as machine-learning, synthetic manufacturing, precision agriculture, and forecasting prediction.
In addition, research will take place at universities around the US, including the University of Oklahoma at Norman, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of California at Davis, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Apparently the NSF anticipates making additional AI Research Institute awards in the coming years, with more than $300 million in total awards, including contributions from partner agencies, expected by next summer.
The NSF currently invests more than $500 million in artificial intelligence activities annually and is the largest Federal driver of non-defense AI R&D.
Meanwhile the DoE is announcing up to $625 million over five years to five centres that will be led by DoE National Laboratory teams at Argonne, Brookhaven, Fermi, Oak Ridge, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories.
The private sector and academia will be providing another $300 million in contributions for the centres.
The funding comes amid something of a technology arms race between many countries.
In 2018 for example, Tianjin (a northern Chinese port near Beijing), said it plans to set up a fund worth 100 billion yuan (£11.6bn) to boost the artificial intelligence (AI) industry.
The European Commission has previously called for a 20 billion euro (£17bn) investment into AI across the EU, saying it would increase its investment by about 70 percent to 1.5bn euros by 2020, and wants total public and private investment to reach 20bn euros by the end of that year.
French president Emmanuel Macron announced a major public investment in the area, with a presidential adviser saying AI was in an “arms race”.
The UK government identified AI as a key part of its Industrial Strategy in 2017, and in January 2018 said it would strengthen links with France in the AI sector.