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NIST/DOC Requests Input on Federal Engagement in Artificial Intelligence Standards Activities

5/1/2019
ANSI Encourages Members to Attend May 30 Workshop and Submit Feedback by May 31

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking comment on the current state, plans, challenges, and opportunities related to artificial intelligence (AI) technical standards, as well as priority areas for federal involvement in AI standards-related activities, pursuant to the February 11, 2019, Executive Order (EO) on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence. The EO directs NIST to create a plan for federal government engagement in the development of technical standards and related tools in support of reliable, robust, and trustworthy systems that use AI technologies.

For assistance in developing the plan, NIST is seeking input from federal agencies, the private sector, academia, non-governmental entities, standards organizations, and others with an interest and expertise in AI. A workshop has been scheduled for May 30 at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD, to engage these stakeholders in discussions that will advance the development of the AI plan.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is developing a response to the RFI, and strongly encourages its members and constituents to contribute to ANSI’s response by May 20, or submit their own feedback to NIST by the May 31 deadline.

The American AI Initiative
According to the Federal Register notice, “The EO on AI states that ‘[c]ontinued American leadership in AI is of paramount importance to maintaining the economic and national security of the United States and to shaping the global evolution of AI in a manner consistent with our Nation’s values, policies, and priorities.’ Accordingly, Section 1 of the EO calls for a coordinated federal government strategy, the American AI Initiative, and notes that the U.S. must drive development of appropriate AI technical standards in order to enable the creation of new AI-related industries and the adoption of AI by today’s industries. This can be achieved through the work and partnership of industry, academia, and government.”

According to the RFI, “Timely and fit-for-purpose AI technical standards – whether developed by national or international organizations – will play a crucial role in the development and deployment of AI technologies, and will be essential in building trust and confidence about AI technologies and for achieving economies of scale.”

Specifically, the RFI calls for information to help NIST understand the:

  • Current status and plans regarding the availability, use, and development of AI technical standards and tools in support of systems that use AI technologies;
  • Needs and challenges regarding the existence, availability, use, and development of AI standards and tools; and
  • The current and potential future role of federal agencies regarding the existence, availability, use, and development of AI technical standards and tools in order to meet the nation’s needs.

For full details and submission information, see the RFI in the Federal Register. If you are interested in contributing to the ANSI response, please contact Mary Saunders, ANSI’s vice president for government relations.

For registration information, see the NIST Federal Engagement in Artificial Intelligence Standards Workshop event page.


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As the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) empowers its members and constituents to strengthen the U.S. marketplace position in the global economy while helping to assure the safety and health of consumers and the protection of the environment.

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