DC just got serious about taking on China in the AI arms race

  • A bipartisan Senate group is calling for $32 billion in annual federal AI spending.
  • The group wants to ensure the US stays ahead of China — which is also spending big on AI.
  • Group leader Sen. Chuck Schumer said the money will “cement America’s dominance in AI.”

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A bipartisan group of US Senators wants to spend billions of dollars on a game plan to dominate artificial intelligence.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and three other senators who assembled an AI Working Group released their initial report on Wednesday.

It’s a policy road map that calls for $32 billion in annual federal spending on AI for nonmilitary purposes. That money, they said, would go toward research and development, reducing AI’s potential harm, managing its potential impact on elections and jobs, and ensuring AI systems adhere to existing laws.

They also said it would help the United States compete with China in the AI arms race.

Schumer said in the press conference on Wednesday that the cash influx would “keep our companies, our universities, our workers at the cutting edge and cement America’s dominance in AI.”

GOP Sen. Mike Rounds, a working group member, said at the press conference that the Chinese government is now spending far more on AI than the US government. According to China Daily, China’s investment in AI is expected to surpass $38 billion by 2027. China also significantly outpaces the United States in AI patents, according to the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence.

President Joe Biden has also pushed the United States to lead the development of the revolutionary technology. “The rest of the world is looking to us to lead the way,” he said at a meeting in October.

Later that month, Biden signed a sweeping executive order that established new standards for AI safety and security and called for greater transparency from major tech companies.

In April, the US Department of Homeland Security also established a federal advisory board of tech industry leaders, including OpenAI’s Sam Altman, Nvidia’s Jensen Huang, and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, to oversee AI deployment in infrastructure.

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Katie BalevicLakshmi Varanasi