The White House today released a report detailing its FY2020 non-defense artificial intelligence (AI) research and development (R&D) spending request, which totals a bit less than $1 billion.

The report, which was released by the Networking and Information Technology R&D (NITRD) Program, includes a total budget request of $973.5 million for civilian AI R&D, and for the first time the report includes an agency-by-agency reporting on non-defense Federal AI R&D investments.

Michael Kratsios, U.S. CTO and head of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, announced the report during a speech today at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s Center for Data Innovation event. In his remarks he stressed the practicality and transparency of the White House’s AI R&D plans, saying, “in American AI R&D budgets, you won’t find aspirational expenditures or cryptic funding mechanisms.”

And he emphasized the administration’s focus on AI and its desire to prioritize R&D in the field.

“So today, our goal is very clear: This uniquely American ecosystem must do everything in its collective power to keep America’s lead in the AI race and build on our success,” he said. “Our future rests on getting AI right. AI will support the jobs of the future. It is and will continue to drive our economic growth. It is advancing our national security, and it is improving our daily lives. When we lead in AI, it will drive our free and prosperous future.”

Kratsios also addressed public concerns with the rise of AI – namely privacy and potential misuses of the technology.

“Authoritarian nations look at new technologies as another way to control their people, using AI to surveil their population, limit free speech, and violate fundamental rights,” he said. “This is not the American way. Our vision for artificial intelligence is rooted in the rule of law, respect for rights, and a spirit of freedom. Our holistic strategy will improve our development of AI, empower the American people, promote innovative uses of new technology, stay true to our values, and preserve our dominance.”

Read More About
More Topics
Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.