White House meets with top tech leaders to talk AI

Representatives from Google, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Qualcomm were invited to brainstorm ideas to ensure the US's ongoing dominance in AI


The Trump administration invited a bevy of top tech executives to the White House for a "listening session" in an effort to come up with a plan to ensure the future of the US's technological dominance in emerging fields of tech such as AI.

CEOs in attendance included leaders from some of the largest US tech firms such as Sundar Pichai from Google, Microsoft CEO Satrya Nadella, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz and Steven Mollenkopf, CEO at Qualcomm. They were met by President Trump, however, the meeting was coordinated for the most part by the President's daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump. Also present was US chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US former secretary of state Henry Kissinger.

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The Trump administration, specifically the President, has had a tense relationship with the tech industry since Trump's inauguration in January 2017. Most recently, the budding trade war with China caused Apple's stock to slide 10% in November 2018. Trump has also accused Google of deliberately stifling conservative voices and personally attacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (who was absent from the meeting) multiple times on Twitter.

However, despite past tensions between those present, discussions were centered predominantly around emerging tech such as AI, quantum computing and 5G technology, and how the US can stay ahead of global competition. Google CEO Pichai called the meeting "productive and engaging".

The race to global AI dominance between the US and China has turned uglier in recent weeks. In mid-November, a congressional panel recommended both the US government and private companies avoid buying Chinese IoT tech while the US Commerce Department suggested that exporting AI tech to China was a "threat to national security".

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