- October 3, 2018
AI Recruiting Will Improve U.S. Economy | Engineer Jobs
AI or artificial intelligence has been selected as a national priority in China. Unfortunately, the U.S. government has only paid lip service to recruitment of AI. We also lack a formal artificial intelligence engineering strategy. Placing additional emphasis on AI will lead to exponentially more jobs in fields such as technical, scientific, information technology (IT) and engineering.
Last year China introduced its plan to be No. 1 in artificial intelligence innovation by 2030. “As the Chinese become more active in artificial intelligence, the U.S. should double the amount it spends on research in the field,” says investor and AI practitioner Kai-Fu Lee, who has worked for Google, Microsoft and Apple.
“Double the AI research budget would be a good start, given that all other countries are so much farther behind U.S., and we're looking for the next breakthrough in AI," said Lee. Doubling artificial intelligence funding could double the chances that the next big AI achievement will be made in the U.S., Lee told CNBC in a recent interview.
An AI Visionary With A Solid Background
Lee is CEO of Sinovation Ventures which has invested in Face++, one of the most prominent artificial intelligence companies in China. In the 1980s while at Carnegie Mellon University, he worked on an AI system that beat the highest-ranked American Othello player.
Later Kai-Fu was an executive at Microsoft Research and president of Google's China branch. His book "AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order" was published this month by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Past U.S. Competitions Yielded Results
Researchers in the U.S. often have to work hard in order to win government grants, Lee said. He acknowledged previous U.S. government technology competitions like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Robotics Challenge. Lee asks when the next one would be to help identify new visionaries.
Facebook, Google and other technology companies have hired luminaries from universities to work on AI in recent years. "It's not China that is taking away the academic leaders; it's the corporates," Lee said.
Lee also said immigration policy changes could also help the U.S. bolster its artificial intelligence efforts. "I think green cards should automatically be offered to PhD's in AI," he said.
China's Path Is Similar To Ours
China's State Council issued its Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan in July 2017. The country's National Natural Science Foundation provides funding to people at academic institutions.
This is similar to the way the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other government organizations dole out money to U.S. researchers. However, the quality of academic work is lower in China, Lee said.
Earlier this year the U.S. Defense Department established a Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. Its purpose is meant to involve partners from industry and academia.
Among other actions:
• The White House announced the formation of the Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence.
• This month DARPA announced a $2 billion investment in an initiative called AI Next.
• As for the NSF, it currently invests more than $100 million per year in AI research.
• Meanwhile, U.S. legislation that sought to create a National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence has not seen action in months.
A consorted effort is needed which in turn will bring results.
Exponentially More Technical | Scientific | IT | Engineering Jobs
Recruiting in many ancillary fields will also be boosted with more focus on AI. More engineers, scientists, information technology (IT) and technical talent will be needed. This will only further boost our economy.
However, in order to accomplish this, our schools need to also improve in order to mint more technology talent. More emphasis is needed on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. Additionally, improved ways to train engineers, scientists and technical professionals need to be invented.
But it all starts with a sound plan, strategy and tactics. Just what are our government officials going to doing about it?