Trump administration invests $1 billion in AI research and quantum computing

Photo (c) metamorworks - Getty Images

The hope is that training more Americans for tech jobs will help the U.S. regain the global tech crown

The White House has unveiled its plans for the establishment of 12 new research institutes focused exclusively on AI research and quantum information science. 

By looking at the institutes involved in the venture, it’s easy to tell that the Trump administration is very serious about the initiative. According to a variety of sources, the National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have all promised to invest tens of millions of dollars in those research centers.

An extra $140 million will be invested in seven of the initiatives, two overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and another five by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The administration was also lucky enough to get tech companies like Microsoft and IBM to write a big check. Those companies are adding in $300 million of their own -- not in cash, but more in value. Described as “technology-services donations” by the Wall Street Journal, the belief is that value will come in the way of cloud computing resources.

Make America a tech winner

Funding emerging technologies has apparently been a top topic in the West Wing, spurred on by policy advisors who expressed their concern that the U.S. is bringing up the rear in the AI and quantum research world, especially compared to tech challengers like China.  

“It is absolutely imperative the United States continues to lead the world in AI and quantum,” said the Department of Defense’s Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios. “The future of American economic prosperity and national security will be shaped by how we invest, research, develop and deploy these cutting edge technologies today.”

The rise in computer science has been on a steep incline over the past few years, but colleges have reportedly had trouble meeting student demand because of a scarcity of staffing. Feeling that Americans were being elbowed out of high-tech jobs, the Trump administration slapped a ban on U.S. entry for non-U.S. tech types, 35 percent of whom have an AI-related degree. 

To build a higher hurdle for foreign techsters, Trump has reportedly flirted with the notion of suspending the Optional Practical Training Program, which allows foreign students to work for one year on a student visa towards getting practical training to complement their education.

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