The National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC) held its first meeting on May 4, where it established five working groups to improve the committee’s efficiency and laid out a vision for what the panel hopes to accomplish.

The Department of Commerce established NAIAC in late 2021 to provide recommendations on topics such as the current state of U.S. AI competitiveness, the state of science around AI, and AI workforce issues. Commerce appointed 27 members to NAIAC in April, who will each serve on two working groups.

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NAIAC Chair Miriam Vogel – who’s also the CEO of EqualAI – announced the five working groups at the inaugural meeting. They include Leadership in Trustworthy AI, Leadership in Research and Development, Supporting the U.S. Workforce and Providing Opportunity, U.S. Leadership in Competitiveness, and International Cooperation.

Victoria Espinel, CEO of BSA, will chair the Leadership in Trustworthy AI working group; Trooper Sanders, CEO of Benefits Data Trust, will chair the Supporting the U.S. Workforce and Providing Opportunity working group; Yll Bajraktari, CEO of the Special Competitive Studies Project, will chair the U.S. Leadership in Competitiveness working group; and Zoë Baird, CEO of the Markle Foundation, will chair the International Cooperation working group.

Ayanna Howard, dean of the Ohio State University College of Engineering, and Ashley Llorens, vice president of Microsoft Research, will co-chair the Leadership in Research and Development working group.

“Each of us comes with different experiences, expertise, and ideas. And that is on purpose,” Vogel said during the meeting. “The leadership at Commerce was very thoughtful to ensure that we had a broad cross-section of geography, perspectives, backgrounds, experience, so that we can model what we’re intending to do and show that multi-stakeholder approach to the development and deployment of AI.”

Vogel said NAIAC will initially focus its efforts on the five working groups, but it will also establish a subcommittee on matters regarding the development of AI relating to law enforcement. The subcommittee will provide guidance on areas such as bias and security of data.

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo spoke to the committee’s overall vision, emphasizing that “the stakes are too high,” for members to simply show up to the committee’s meetings and that Commerce needs their “time and effort.”

“As you do your work here, I’d like you to work on strategies to invest in, promote, expand, and accelerate the good and the innovation,” Raimondo said. “And also figure out how we regulate AI, how the United States of America leads with our allies in standard-setting bodies as it relates to AI so that we – together with our allies – lead the world in using AI, consistent with values of equity, diversity, privacy, and protection of human rights, which is why what you’re doing is so important.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.