Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Trump announces artificial intelligence push, in bid to level up from "none"

Me talk pretty one day.
Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool (Getty Images)

As America once more screams itself awake this Monday morning, the terrible nightmares plaguing our troubled slumber giving way to the Sartrean existential cry of our daily reality, we’re greeted by twin visions of an apocalyptic future: Will Smith as a genie and Donald Trump wishing he were smarter. Notice a link?

To be fair, the current occupant of the White House probably didn’t know Disney was planning to release the trailer for what resembles a mashup of Prince Of Persia and Avatar last night. And Trump’s intent is less of a personal dream (as we already know, the man is already convinced he has a very good brain) and more a directive for the federal agencies under his control to make artificial intelligence a priority. As CNN notes, the plan—called the American Artificial Intelligence Initiative, perhaps because Make America Smart Again would be a bit too on the nose—is a broad-based proposal that combines government resources with private A.I. developments to try and improve American innovation in the field, for a variety of applications. Weirdly, it does not single out our pressing need for A.I. in the realm of high school dorks building sexy ladies to teach them about life.


It directs agencies to make data and computing resources more available to A.I. experts and improve security, while simultaneously pushing for renewed commitments to work programs and apprenticeships to further education and training in the field. As befitting a president who has no clue how to pay for anything, it notably doesn’t include any funding details, with a senior administration official saying it’s up to Congress to find the money for it. Honestly, the main reason we’re covering this is because advancements in A.I. go hand-in-hand with advancements in our entertainment technology; twenty bucks says Netflix is already making phone calls to upgrade its algorithm, hopefully to a system that doesn’t see your love of Russian Doll and thinks, “Hey, bet you’d really dig this new Ray Romano stand-up special!”

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Alex McLevy

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.