The Biden administration named a lead for a new institute for artificial intelligence (AI) safety on Wednesday, underlining the White House’s focus on the developing technology.
Elizabeth Kelly, an economic adviser to the president, will lead the AI Safety Institute at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), a subset of the Commerce Department. Kelly was an integral part of drafting legislation to found the institute last year, the department said.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the institute will be focused on mitigating risks that come with the “generation-defining” technology of AI.
“For the United States to lead the world in the development of safe, responsible AI, we need the brightest minds at the helm,” she said in a statement. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we’re in a position of power to meet the challenges posed by AI, while fostering America’s greatest strength: innovation.”
Vice President Harris said AI safety is key to the technology’s development when the institute was announced in October.
“President Biden and I reject the false choice that suggests we can either protect the public or advance innovation,” she said. “We can and we must do both. The actions we take today will lay the groundwork for how AI will be used in the years to come.”
Kelly said Wednesday that she is committed to implementing the White House’s AI safety framework announced alongside the institute in October, as well as building the institute’s operations.
“The Safety Institute’s ambitious mandate to develop guidelines, evaluate models, and pursue fundamental research will be vital to addressing the risks and seizing the opportunities of AI,” she said in a statement. “I am thrilled to work with the talented NIST team and the broader AI community to advance our scientific understanding and foster AI safety.”
“While our first priority will be executing the tasks assigned to NIST in President Biden’s executive order, I look forward to building the Institute as a long-term asset for the country and the world,” Kelly added.
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