Who Is Spending More On AI?

White House’s Fiscal Year 2021 Requests for AI Surpass Prior Years

Even though the Trump Administration invested more in AI last year than in previous years, the budget request for fiscal year 2021 has gone up dramatically, reflecting its efforts to keep up with China and other countries, according to a press release from the White House.

Nondefense-related AI Research and Development (R&D) would go up, too. Spending for AI R&D and interdisciplinary research institutes at the National Science Foundation would go up to $830 million, representing a more than 70 percent increase over the FY 2020 budget.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science will invest $125 million in AI research, a $54 million increase over FY 2020.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide $100 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative competitive grants program to enhance application of advanced technology, including AI, in agricultural systems. The National Institutes of Health will invest $50 million for new research on chronic diseases using AI and related approaches.

In regards to Defense AI R&D, DARPA is investing $459 million in AI R&D, an increase of $50 million from FY 2020, and the Department of Defense’s Joint AI Center is increasing its budget from $242 million in FY 2020 to $290 million in FY 2021.

When the administration says it has rebuilt the military, at least from the standpoint of DARPA and its AI programs, it’s not much of an exaggeration. Doug Heaven for technologyreview.com wrote:

“…the money will mostly flow to DARPA and the NSF. But $50 million of the NSF’s budget has been allocated to education and job training, especially in community colleges, historically black colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions. The White House says it also plans to double funding of AI research for purposes other than defense next year.”

With the threat of cyber warfare always in the headlines, it’s no surprise that one reason the DoD is serious about military AI investment is the focus on AI by China.

TheNextWeb.com in a December 2019 story stated a simple truth about AI, whether in the United States, China or anywhere else: whether certain funds were earmarked for military, defense, education, or civilian R&D is irrelevant because artificial intelligence isn’t a product-based technology like hover tanks or railguns. It’s a science-based one like atomic bombs or electricity.

A recently published study from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), a think tank at Georgetown University, indicates commonly held perceptions about China‘s supposed AI spending may be grossly off-base. Key takeaways suggest the PRC spends much less than the U.S. on “military” and “defense” AI.

Here’s a hot take: All AI is military AI.

According to thenextweb.com story, CSET researchers doubt China’s reported levels of AI R&D investment.

“Although our findings and assumptions are tentative, inferring tens of billions of dollars in annual R&D spending from publicly available data would require much more extreme assumptions,” the report stated.

Military strategists worry that China will become the supreme AI power and dominate the world by 2030. Although its the largest adversary of the United States, several other countries are investing in AI research, spurring the U.S. to continue its drive to stay on top.

read more at thenextweb.com