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Trump admin launches Civic AI Initiative Office

The White House today appear the launch of its Civic AI Initiative Office, appearance what should be President Trump‘s final abetment of the country’s gutted Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

According to an OSTP press release:

The Office is answerable with administering and implementing the United States civic AI action and will serve as the axial hub for Federal allocation and accord in AI analysis and policymaking across the government, as well as with clandestine sector, academia, and other stakeholders.

Background: Over the course of the Trump presidency, the OSTP was whittled down from a record 135 staffers under President Barack Obama to a mere 35. While the office itself operated under a skeleton crew, it’s still managed to create a budget, define policy for, and appoint the accomplishing of the Civic AI Initiative Office.

In effect this simply codifies what the White House has been doing since day one of the Trump presidency, namely sending advantageous affairs to Trump-friendly AI vendors such as the Peter Thiel-backed Palantir or the arguable facial acceptance aggregation Clearview AI.

This is because, back in 2018, Trump about made himself the country’s official AI advisor. As I wrote at the time:

The person adopted POTUS is, by default, a co-chair of the [National Science and Technology Council] NSTC. Without a administrator or a fellow co-chair, Trump clearly advises himself. This gives him unilateral ascendancy over the entire committee, with the option to defer acumen to junior members.

Quick take: The office’s guidelines are pretty much toothless in that they crave the alignment to pursue the acceptance of ethics policies, but don’t absolutely direct nor make specific suggestions apropos the country’s AI practices. In other words, the office is under orders to pursue ethical AI but has no remedy for administering the ethical use of AI by the US government.

While capacity of the exact chicane of the Civic AI Initiative Office are scarce, it stands to reason legislating its actuality in the final days of the Trump admiral will make it more difficult for the admission Joe Biden administering to extricate the country from its accepted deals with the clandestine sector.

We accomplished out to the White House and OSTP for animadversion but were referred to today’s press release.

Published January 12, 2021 — 17:42 UTC

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