"If there's no implementation plan behind the EO - with details, deadlines, and funding - then it may be worse than no EO at all", Wendy Anderson, general manager for defense and national security at SparkCognition, told reporters.
Instead, the White House hopes to provide leadership for private industry to take the initiative in developing artificial intelligence.
When asked about the benefit of AI to the American public, the official emphasized how "artificial intelligence is something that touches every aspect of people's lives", pointing to medical care, food production and energy resource extraction as examples.
The plan, called the American AI Initiative, is meant to enhance national and economic security and improve Americans' quality of life.
The goal of the executive order is to make sure the U.S. is on the spearhead of the development of this new and disruptive technology.
First, the executive order will urge federal funding agencies to step up AI investments.
It's well understood that this is directed at Beijing, which in July 2017 unveiled its plan to become the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030.
Last May, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis wrote a note to Trump imploring him to draw up just such a national strategy for retaining United States leadership in AI, noting his fear of China's ambitious plans, the New York Times reported in August.
Dubbed the American AI Initiative, the administration will direct agencies to prioritise AI investments in research and development, increase access to federal data and models for that research and prepare workers to adapt to the era of AI.