US forms expert committee to advise on artificial intelligence

SEP 15, 2021

The advisory panel will comprise at least nine members from academia, industry, the public sector, and non-profits, representing broad and interdisciplinary expertise and perspectives. Photo by Mikhail Nilov via Pexels

The US is establishing a National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC) to advise president Biden and federal agencies on artificial intelligence (AI) research, ethics and development.

The Department of Commerce is in the process of recruiting top-level candidates to serve on the committee which will work with the National AI Initiative Office (NAIIO) in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Announcing the new committee, US Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo said that AI presents “an enormous opportunity” for the government to tackle a range of issues, strengthen technological competitiveness and drive growth in nearly every sector of the economy. “But we must be thoughtful, creative, and wise in how we address the challenges that accompany these new technologies,” she said in a statement.

“That includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that President Biden’s comprehensive commitment to advancing equity and racial justice extends to our development and use of AI technology. This committee will help the federal government to do that by providing insights into a full range of issues raised by AI.”

Interdisciplinary expertise and perspectives

The advisory panel is to consist of at least nine members drawn from academia, industry, the public sector, and non-profits, representing broad and interdisciplinary expertise and perspectives, the formal notice published in the Federal Register said.

They will provide advice and recommendations on the progress of the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative and steer the government on an array of topics related to AI. These will include US AI competitiveness; the state of science around AI; the adequacy of the National AI R&D Strategic Plan; issues related to accountability and legal rights; and matters related to AI workforce including barriers to employment opportunities for historically underrepresented populations.

The notice said the Commerce Department is also recruiting candidates for a subcommittee which will advise the president on AI in law enforcement, including issues around bias, data security, adoptability and legal standards.

Eric Lander, White House Science Advisor and OSTP Director said there had been major advances in the design, development and use of AI over the past several years. “We must be sure that these advances are matched by similar progress in ensuring that AI is trustworthy, and that it ensures fairness and protections for civil rights,” he said.

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