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Microsoft to build AI hub on previously-owned Foxconn land in Wisconsin

Originally Published: 08 MAY 24 05:31 ET

(CNN) — Microsoft said it is pouring $3.3 billion into building a data hub in Wisconsin that aims to train employees and manufacturers on how to best use artificial intelligence.

President Joe Biden will appear at the site in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, on Wednesday to highlight the administration’s efforts to invest in job growth in America.

The news comes six years after the Trump administration announced a $10 billion investment by tech manufacturer Foxconn – with the promise to bring 13,000 jobs to the area – on the same Wisconsin land, a plan that never materialized.

The new center aims to create 2,300 union construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs over time, according to Microsoft.

The company told CNN it will use the AI center to train about 100,000 workers. It also plans to open a lab on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to help companies and manufacturers infuse the technology into their businesses.

Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella earned a master’s degree in computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, according to his company profile.

In his remarks Wednesday, Biden plans to directly point his finger at Trump for the failed project, according to a White House official.

The president’s visit to the key battleground state will also present an opportunity for the White House to try to highlight some of the Biden administration’s key first term achievements — and specifically, funding from legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the so called “Chips Act,” which invests in semiconductor chip manufacturing in the United States, that will boost the Badger State.

In a fact sheet released by the White House ahead of the president’s visit, the administration says that 177,000 jobs have been added in Wisconsin – 4,000 specifically in Racine – since the president took office in 2021.

Last year, Biden signed an executive order on AI aimed to get entrepreneurs access to technical assistance and resources, help small businesses commercialize AI breakthroughs, and expand grants for AI research in areas such as healthcare and climate change.

The White House also introduced an order in 2023 to require AI system developers to share results of their safety tests with the federal government before they are released to the public.

Microsoft’s move comes at a time when the government seeks to monitor and regulate the risks of artificial intelligence. In March, Biden urged Congress during his State of the Union address to pass legislation to regulate artificial intelligence, including banning “AI voice impersonation and more.” He said lawmakers need to “harness the promise of AI and protect us from its peril,” warning of the technology’s risks to Americans if left unchecked.

Beyond AI, Wisconsin is seeing a spate of funding toward futuristic industries. The state received $6.9 billion from Biden’s “Investing in America” agenda for infrastructure and clean energy.

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