President Donald Trump reportedly plans to sign an executive order today creating something called the American AI Initiative. The executive order is apparently a symbolic nod to artificial intelligence that doesn’t create any new funding but encourages the federal government to do more with AI. And we can’t help but wonder, what are the odds that President Trump knows anything about what he’s signing today?
We don’t even mean to be snarky or mean by asking the question. But it’s worth asking given the president’s dangerous incompetence and complete lack of intellectual curiosity. Does President Trump, someone who regularly insists that he knows a lot about technology but has used a computer maybe twice in his entire life, have any idea what he’s signing later today? Do you think Trump could describe in even the most basic terms what his new American AI Initiative seeks to accomplish? As reported by multiple news outlets, the American AI Initiative is simply a “strategy” to get the federal government more involved in artificial intelligence.
The executive order will seek to “redirect” existing funding, but it’s not clear where that funding will be “redirected” from. All we know for sure is that it won’t be redirected from billionaires. They already got a huge tax break in one of the largest transfers of wealth from the poor to the rich in modern history. If nothing else, the White House seems to have provided plenty of meaningless buzzwords about the AI endeavour.
“We’re excited to be developing principles and an agenda with American values in mind,” one anonymous Trump regime official told the Wall Street Journal. “That is something we’re excited to share with the world.”
“This executive order is about ensuring continued America leadership in AI, which includes ensuring AI technologies reflect American values, policies, and priorities,” an anonymous official told Axios.
“AI is something that touches every aspect of people’s lives. What this initiative attempts to do is to bring all those together under one umbrella and show the promise of this technology for the American people,” an anonymous Trump regime official told Reuters.
What does any of that mean? Your guess is as good as ours. And we expect to hear precisely as much stirring detail about it after President Trump signs the thing later today. What are the odds that Trump’s aides simply said the words “it’s to fight China” and Trump said ok before turning his attention back to Fox News? Pretty good.
If it seems like you’re seeing the news of President Trump’s executive order everywhere this morning, that’s by design. News organisations all hit publish on their stories at midnight, presumably because the White House approached them with a news “embargo.”
Some of the headlines that news organisations went with overnight:
MIT Technology Review: Trump has a plan to keep America first in artificial intelligence
New York Times: Trump to Sign Executive Order Promoting Artificial Intelligence
Wall Street Journal: Trump Seeks to Boost AI as Chinese Competition Grows
Axios: Trump to Lay Out an AI Plan
The stated purpose of a news embargo is to allow news organisations time to talk with experts and get an independent opinion without rushing a story to press. Gizmodo honours embargoes all the time, especially for science coverage. But embargoes are often used for cynical, public relations purposes. And this appears to be a case of the latter. It’s almost as if the White House was able to press “publish” on half a dozen press releases simultaneously, all while keeping the government sources completely anonymous for some reason.
It’s genuinely strange that the Trump regime is able to get away with this kind of control over news in an environment where they’ve ruined so much. The president has been exposed as arguably the most corrupt politician of the past 100 years as he continues to profit from his position in countless ways and his own lawyer is going to jail for something that the president instructed him to do. Not to mention that President Trump has overseen some of the most barbaric human rights violations on American soil in recent memory through his immigrant family separation policy—something that Trump regime members still insist isn’t an actual policy despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Two children have even died in government custody in recent months and countless others are enduring systematic child abuse through the country’s concentration camps for asylum seekers. And yet everything is moving along like normal. The White House still issues news embargoes and media organisations still publish what the White House wants them to publish precisely when the White House wants them to publish it.
And to make matters even more strange, congressional talks have apparently broken down and America is headed toward another government shutdown on February 15 over the president’s racist border wall with Mexico.
Yes, it seems like it’s going to be another of those weeks. But if we’re being honest with ourselves every week is one of those weeks now.