This week, President Trump took shots at Google for what he calls unfair search results for his name and unfair treatment of conservatives by Silicon Valley liberals. In this same vein, he talked about how some people see “an antitrust situation” with Google, Amazon, and Facebook.

Before Trump’s latest Twitter tirade began, on Sunday the New York Times reported that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wrote a memo to President Trump earlier this year asking him to create a national strategy for AI akin to the kind China has created. China’s strategy was introduced last year and aims to make China the world leader in AI by 2030, in part through “military-civil fusion” with companies like Baidu and Tencent.

Mattis reportedly said in the memo the United States isn’t keeping pace with China and recommended a presidential commission be created. While quoting an article by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Mattis wrote that the commission should be established in order to inspire “a whole country effort that will ensure the U.S. is a leader not just in matters of defense but in the broader ‘transformation of the human condition.'” The memo was apparently sent weeks after the Trump administration formed an AI advisory council.

Do not consider the Mattis memo and Trump’s argument with Google in isolation.

The president more than likely doesn’t believe he’s being discriminated against or care about antitrust regulation and is just teeing off on big tech companies to win points with his far-right base. But even if he does actually believe Google treated him unfairly, it may not be in the best interest of the United States to argue with a company closely associated with the growth of AI and tools like TensorFlow.

Right now, he should probably be listening to his defense secretary and thinking about what a national AI strategy should look like for the United States, and exploring the topic with companies like Google.

Recent months have been marked by friction between tech workers and the federal government.

Thousands of Google employees spoke up in opposition to working with the Department of Defense on Project Maven, opposition that led Google to discontinue its contract with the DOD and CEO Sundar Pichai to declare Google will not participate in the creation of autonomous weaponry.

Many Microsoft employees also shared their unwillingness to support ICE due to President Trump’s program to separate families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Employees at some tech companies have quit in protest in response to military contracts, but not everyone is against the idea. Computer vision startup Clarifai also participated in Maven, and CEO Matt Zeiler said Clarifai chose to work with the government in the interest of national security.

More work between tech companies and defense or intelligence officials is likely on the way. The Joint AI Center (JAIC) established by the Department of Defense in June is scheduled to open next month, and director Brendan McCord apparently plans to seek help from academia and industry.

In calling for a “whole country effort,” Mattis’ memo appears to allude to more partnerships with private companies, but even if that doesn’t happen, stakeholders making influential tools for AI like the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit, PyTorch, or TensorFlow should probably be consulted when considering a national AI strategy.

Algorithmic bias and the need to regulate tech giants are serious issues worth consideration, but right now the president should be having conversations with companies like Google about how they can cooperate with the JAIC or put in their two cents on a national AI strategy, not sending tweets about how Google didn’t promote his inauguration.

If you believe, as Vladimir Putin does, that the nation that leads in AI will control the world, apparently there’s a lot at stake, and national security is a president’s first responsibility.

For AI coverage, send news tips to Kyle Wiggers and Khari Johnson — and be sure to bookmark our AI Channel.

Thanks for reading,

Khari Johnson
AI Staff Writer

P.S. Please enjoy this video titled “Everybody Dance Now.” Made by UC Berkeley AI researchers on how to manipulate videos to make people dance, the video uploaded by Caroline Chan a little over a week ago had been viewed more than 400,000 times at the time this story was published.

From VB

A Facebook like button is pictured at the Facebook's France headquarters in Paris, France, November 27, 2017.

Facebook is using unsupervised machine learning for translations

Facebook has begun using unsupervised machine learning to translate content on its platform when it doesn’t have many examples of translations from one language to another — such as from English to Urdu. The method was devised by Facebook AI Research (FAIR) and is being used […]

Read the full story

Destruction in the Marina District in San Francisco after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

Google and Harvard use AI to predict earthquake aftershocks

Researchers from Google’s AI division and Harvard University have created an AI model capable of predicting the location of aftershocks up to one year after a major earthquake. The model was trained on 199 major earthquake events, followed by 130,000 aftershocks, and was found to be more accurate than a method used to predict aftershocks […]

Read the full story

Microsoft Azure now supports Nvidia GPU Cloud for deep learning

Microsoft Azure cloud customers can now use Nvidia’s GPU Cloud for the training and inference of deep learning models. The Nvidia GPU Cloud provides software containers to accelerate high-performance computing (HPC) and deep learning for researchers and developers. Powered by Nvidia Volta and its Tensor Core GPU architecture, the GPU Cloud launched in spring 2017. The […]

Read the full story

How Android Pie’s Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness work

Two of the most interesting AI features in Android Pie are Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness. Both work automatically in the background — machine learning handles all the heavy lifting. Google has now shared how these two features work and their impact on Android users.

Read the full story

Google’s light search app Go can now read you articles and web pages

EXCLUSIVE: Google today announced that the light version of its search, called Go, can now read virtually any website to you. The Go app can now read content in more than two dozen languages, allowing more people to listen to articles and web pages. The service was made for people interested in listening to long-form articles, news […]

Read the full story

Google releases open source reinforcement learning framework for training AI models

Google’s releasing a reinforcement learning framework that makes it easier to train AI models with cutting-edge techniques.

Read the full story

Alexa can now play your favorite song when you walk into a room

Amazon today announced a new API that gives Alexa the ability to communicate with sensors that detect motion and those used to monitor when a door or window opens. The new smart home skill feature will enable more automation and interaction with home security systems. The Contact and Motion Sensor API introduced today […]

Read the full story

Beyond VB

Franken-algorithms: the deadly consequences of unpredictable code

The death of a woman hit by a self-driving car highlights an unfolding technological crisis, as code piled on code creates ‘a universe no one fully understands.’ (via The Guardian)

Read the full story

If we ever want artificial general intelligence, governments need to invest in it

Pretty much every tech startup that boasts its use of artificial intelligence is actually focused on an ultra-specific problem. (via Futurism)

Read the full story

Want to make robots more human? Try artificial stupidity

Welcome to the AI era. We missed the official announcement too, but it’s obvious that’s what we’re in. This new paradigm requires the acceptance or denial of a new brand of faith: artificial general intelligence (AGI). (via The Next Web)

Read the full story

China is quickly becoming an AI superpower

Last year, China’s government put out its plan to lead the world in AI by 2030. (via SingularityHub)

Read the full story