NIST launches new working group to tackle AI risks

A new NIST working group will aim to craft new guidance to help shape the development of generative AI technologies.

A new NIST working group will aim to craft new guidance to help shape the development of generative AI technologies. Yuichiro Chino / Getty Images

The new initiative will bring together technical experts from across the public and private sectors to explore the benefits and challenges associated with generative artificial intelligence. 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is launching a new working group to help combat the risks associated with artificial intelligence and explore its use to address critical issues like climate change and public health. 

The White House announced the new initiative on Thursday following a meeting President Joe Biden convened with leading AI experts and researchers in California earlier this week. The working group will consist of technical experts and volunteers from across the public and private sectors, and build on NIST's AI risk management framework released earlier this year.  

The working group will also help create guidance that can be used to support the development of generative AI technologies, which can be leveraged to generate new content based on learned patterns and examples. 

"This new group is especially timely considering the unprecedented speed, scale and potential impact of generative AI," NIST Director Laurie Locascio said in a statement. "We want to identify and develop tools to better understand and manage those risks."

The working group will initially serve as a vehicle to gather input for NIST's generative AI guidance, then go on to support efforts to test, evaluate and measure generative AI tools and systems. In the long-term, the group will aim to explore specific opportunities for the federal government to leverage generative AI to address major challenges involving health and the environment, according to the announcement. 

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo also said in a statement that the new public working group "will help provide essential guidance for those organizations that are developing, deploying and using generative AI."

The announcement comes the same day that NIST announced the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory committee had delivered its first report to the White House identifying areas of focus for the next two years. 

The report said that the committee will focus on ways to harness the benefits associated with AI technologies while effectively addressing their challenges and risks. 

Technical experts and other stakeholders interested in joining the new working group have until July 9 to complete their applications. The group will convene virtually and contribute to NIST's generative AI profile for the AI risk management framework, the announcement said.