Artificial intelligence (AI) has become one of the most impactful technologies of the twenty-first century. Nearly every sector of the economy and society has been affected by the capabilities and potential of AI. AI is enabling farmers to grow food more efficiently, medical researchers to better understand and treat COVID-19, scientists to develop new materials, transportation professionals to deliver more goods faster and with less energy, weather forecasters to more accurately predict the tracks of hurricanes, and national security protectors to better defend our Nation.
At the same time, AI has raised important societal concerns. What is the impact of AI on the changing nature of work? How can we ensure that AI is used appropriately, and does not result in unfair discrimination or bias? How can we guard against uses of AI that infringe upon human rights and democratic principles?
These dual perspectives on AI have led to the concept of “trustworthy AI”. Trustworthy AI is AI that is designed, developed, and used in a manner that is lawful, fair, unbiased, accurate, reliable, effective, safe, secure, resilient, understandable, and with processes in place to regularly monitor and evaluate the AI system’s performance and outcomes.
Achieving trustworthy AI requires an all-of-government and all-of-Nation approach, combining the efforts of industry, academia, government, and civil society. The Federal government is doing its part through a national strategy, called the National AI Initiative Act of 2020 (NAIIA) (DIVISION E, SEC. 5001). The National AI Initiative (NAII) builds upon several years of impactful AI policy actions, many of which were outcomes from EO 13859 on Maintaining American Leadership in AI.
Six key pillars define the Nation’s AI strategy:
- prioritizing AI research and development;
- strengthening AI research infrastructure;
- advancing trustworthy AI through technical standards and governance;
- training an AI-ready workforce;
- promoting international AI engagement; and
- leveraging trustworthy AI for government and national security.
Coordinating all of these efforts is the National AI Initiative Office, which is legislated by the NAIIA to coordinate and support the NAII. This Office serves as the central point of contact for exchanging technical and programmatic information on AI activities at Federal departments and agencies, as well as related Initiative activities in industry, academia, nonprofit organizations, professional societies, State and tribal governments, and others.
The AI.gov website provides a portal for exploring in more depth the many AI actions, initiatives, strategies, programs, reports, and related efforts across the Federal government. It serves as a resource for those who want to learn more about how to take full advantage of the opportunities of AI, and to learn how the Federal government is advancing the design, development, and use of trustworthy AI.
If you have ideas or suggestions for how to further the goals of the National AI Initiative, please contact us. The National AI Initiative Office looks forward to engaging with stakeholders from across the Nation as we embrace the innovations possible with trustworthy AI.
Lynne Parker is the Deputy United States Chief Technology Officer and Director of the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office.
The seal of the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office.