Nominations for the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee Are Flowing In

President Joe Biden disembarks Marine One upon arrival at the Gordons Pond in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his Rehoboth Beach home

President Joe Biden disembarks Marine One upon arrival at the Gordons Pond in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his Rehoboth Beach home (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The new crew will inform the president about crucial AI-centered matters.

The Commerce Department is actively recruiting candidates to serve on the government’s newly-formed National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee, or NAIAC—where they’ll inform President Joe Biden and agencies on issues raised by the emerging technology.

At least nine members will serve up to two consecutive three-year terms on the committee, according to a recently released call for nominations. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is charged with providing administrative support to the high-level group.

“The announcement was posted just over a week ago and we have already had a good deal of interest, with more than 65 submissions so far,” NIST’s Public Affairs Director Jennifer Huergo told Nextgov on Friday.

AI is a complex technology that is increasingly prevalent in, and even shaping, many human lives. Agencies’ journeys to embrace the evolving capabilities vary, but they are guided in some ways by the National AI Initiative Act of 2020. The law incorporates many provisions, including ones to fund billions in federal investments over the next half-decade, to produce a broader AI national strategy, and to establish this new committee. Specifically, the policy directs the group to provide federal leaders with recommendations regarding AI-aligned competition, science and research, workforce, equity, strategy implementation and more.

“AI presents an enormous opportunity to tackle the biggest issues of our time, strengthen our technological competitiveness, and be an engine for 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,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. “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.”

Expert leaders from a wide range of AI-relevant disciplines will be considered for the NAIAC. Once onboard, they will need to provide top government officials with insights around ethics, standards, education, civil rights implications, technology transfer, commercial application, research and development pursuits, and security, among other topics.

NIST already plays a prominent role in developing studies, standards and data necessary to help the government and nation fully realize the promises AI has to offer.

“Much of NIST’s work focuses on cultivating trust in the design, development, use and governance of artificial intelligence technologies and systems and this advisory committee will play a large role in advising the president in these areas,” Huergo noted.

Like every federal advisory committee, the NAIAC must have federal staff to organize, promote and support its meetings. NIST also has experience doing so already, including for the Information Security and Privacy Board.

“A NIST staff member will serve as designated federal officer to ensure compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, maintain required records on costs and membership, maintain records, et cetera,” Huergo said. “NIST will manage the process of receiving committee member applications and nominations, and submit candidates for consideration and appointment by the Secretary of Commerce.”

Submissions for committee member nominations will close Oct. 25.

Commerce is also accepting applications for members to form the Subcommittee on AI and Law Enforcement.