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In February the U.S. government launched an American AI initiative, which aims to stimulate AI development. The government’s investments in unclassified R&D for AI technologies is up 40 percent since 2015 and for the first time in history, President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget requests to designate AI and unmanned autonomous systems a priority.
However, some say the problem is that China spends much more on AI investment and financing. In 2017, AI spending hit $39.5 billion, with China accounting for 70 percent of the expenditures.
“AI is growing by leaps and bounds. We’re using it to help control drones in the air, as well as in the sea,” said retired four-star general Jack Keane. “In fact, I think their advancement is greater than ours.”
Palmer Luckey, the founder Anduril Industries, a defense technology company that builds autonomous drones and sensors for military applications, believes that ethics put the U.S. at a strategic disadvantage.
“We're not willing to play dirty, we're not willing to let machines decide what targets to kill and not kill entirely on their own with no human supervision,” he said. “Russia and China don't have a problem with any of those things.”
AI is also changing society in other ways, like transforming the health care industry. The AI health care market is expected to grow from $2.1 billion to $36.1 billion in 2025.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometti said it can be used to potentially save people’s lives. The company uses AI computer “Watson” to build knowledge on diseases from Parkinson’s to cancer. IBM has been a big investor in health care, which is an industry in dire need of AI, she said.
“We've been working away on Watson for health, and in particular, we worked on oncology … we're now at 300 hospitals in over a 125,000 patients around the world where AI has helped the doctor identify the diagnosis and the appropriate treatment,” she said. “We are now at Mayo Clinic, as an example, trained for clinical trial matching for breast cancer. Almost every patient goes through to see if there's a clinical trial, which is an example. So these are things that you didn't realize before how either infrequently they were done or not done with precision.”
Former Google China president Kai-Fu Lee, said within the next 15 years, 40 percent of jobs, especially those that are routine and rely on data, including mortgage brokers, radiologist, and eventually truckers, will be replaced.
“Routine white-collar jobs like customer service, telemarketing, loan officers and tellers and jobs like that will be the first to be challenged,” he said. “Then repetitive blue-collar jobs like dishwasher, assembly line workers, and a little bit later, drivers, also will be challenged.”