Alpha Mini robots that use artificial intelligence dance at the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES 2019 in Las Vegas on Jan. 10, 2019.
David McNew—AFP/Getty Images
By Alan Murray and David Meyer
February 12, 2019

Good morning.

Better late than never.

President Trump yesterday signed an executive order creating the “American AI Initiative,” to guide Artificial Intelligence development in the U.S. The initiative is intended to direct federal funding toward AI research, call for the creation of international standards, and encourage retraining workers. So far, however, it includes no new funding, no timelines, and few details.

“Americans have profited tremendously from being the early developers and international leaders in AI,” reads the White House press release. “However, as the pace of AI innovation increases around the world, we cannot sit idly by and presume that our leadership is guaranteed.”

True enough. The White House action reflects fears that China is gaining ground through a concerted national strategy, massive government funding, and much looser policies around data use. More than any other recent technology, this one promises to have profound effects on business, society and national security. So count this as a step in the right direction… but not nearly big enough.

Separately, AI will be prominent at Fortune’s annual Brainstorm Tech conference, in Aspen, Colo., July 15-17. My colleague Adam Lashinsky recently previewed the event in Data Sheet; you can read his post here. Among the committed speakers: Walmart CEO Doug McMillon; Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, founders of the mobile video platform Quibi; Ynon Kreiz, CEO of Mattel, as well as his predecessor in that job, Margo Georgiadis, now CEO of Ancestry.com; Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos; and Lior Ron, founder of the controversial self-driving trucking firm Otto and current chief of Uber Freight.

The event is invitation only, but if you are interested in attending, shoot me a note, or apply here. News below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

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