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White House lists security tech, AI, energy and space among R&D priorities for 2021

3 Sep 2019, 23:44 UTC
White House lists security tech, AI, energy and space among R&D priorities for 2021
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By 2021, Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander should be ready to go to the lunar surface. Space exploration and commercialization are listed as priorities for federally backed R&D. (Astrobotic Illustration)
Congress hasn’t yet approved a federal budget for the fiscal year that starts next month, but the White House is already setting an agenda for research and development in 2021.
Hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, nuclear energy research and missions to the moon are among the priorities listed in a memo sent out to federal agencies last week by White House science adviser Kelvin Droegemeier and acting budget director Russell Vought.
The memo uses a favorite term of Droegemeier’s — the Second Bold Era — to refer to a wave of progress in science and technology that he hopes will match the era following World War II.
Droegemeier and Vought say the current era is “characterized by unprecedented knowledge, access to data and computing resources, ubiquitous and instant communication, and technologies that allow us to peer into the inner workings of atomic particles as well as the vastness of the universe.”
“Unfortunately, this Second Bold Era also features new and extraordinary threats which must be confronted thoughtfully and effectively,” they said.

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