White House Asks for Public Input on Artificial Intelligence

The White House is asking the public to weigh in on standards and tools needed to advance artificial intelligence (AI). The Trump administration has made several concerted efforts to increase the understanding and use of intelligent technology, and this move attempts to engage industry, academia, and government in improving AI initiatives.

In the Request for Information (RFI) posted May 1, 2019, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) requests “information to help NIST understand the current state, plans, challenges, and opportunities regarding the development and availability of AI technical standards and related tools, as well as priority areas for federal involvement in AI standards-related activities.”

This request builds on the February executive order “Accelerating America’s Leadership in Artificial Intelligence,” which called for investing in AI research and development, unleashing AI resources, setting AI governance standards, building the AI workforce, and engaging internationally while protecting the American AI advantage.

“Americans have profited tremendously from being the early developers and international leaders in AI,” President Trump wrote in the executive order. “However, as the pace of AI innovation increases around the world, we cannot sit idly by and presume that our leadership is guaranteed. We must ensure that advances in AI remain fueled by American ingenuity, reflect American values, and are applied for the benefit of the American people.”

A key pillar of this plan includes fostering public trust while protecting civil liberties, privacy, and American values.

Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Policy Michael Kratsios said in a statement, “The information we receive will be critical to Federal engagement in the development of technical standards for AI and strengthening the public’s trust and confidence in the technology.”

The RFI encourages respondents to define “tools” and “standards” as they see fit. It also defines AI technologies and systems broadly to allow for a wide range of answers on the rapidly developing technologies.

Comments in response to the notice must be sent to NIST via mail or email by May 31 and will be posted to the agency website in the future.

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