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Department of Commerce appoints Ayanna Howard to National AI Advisory Committee

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Ayanna Howard, dean of The Ohio State University College of Engineering, is one of 27 experts appointed to the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC), which will advise the President and the National AI Initiative Office on a range of issues related to artificial intelligence (AI). 

Ayanna Howard portrait in library

Announced today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the appointments are the first for the recently established committee, created in response to the National AI Initiative Act of 2020. The initiative directs the NAIAC to provide recommendations on topics including the current state of U.S. AI competitiveness, the state of science around AI, and AI workforce issues. The committee also is responsible for advice regarding the management and coordination of the initiative itself, including its balance of activities and funding.

“Artificial intelligence presents a new frontier for enhancing our economic and national security, as well as our way of life. Moreover, responsible AI development is instrumental to our strategic competition with China,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “At the same time, we must remain steadfast in mitigating the risks associated with this emerging technology, and others, while ensuring that all Americans can benefit. The diverse leaders of our inaugural National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee represent the best and brightest of their respective fields and will be instrumental in helping the Department strike this balance. Their anticipated recommendations to the President and the National AI Initiative Office will serve as building blocks for U.S. AI policy for decades to come, and I am immensely grateful for their voluntary service.”

The committee members were nominated by the public as expert leaders from a broad and interdisciplinary range of AI-relevant disciplines from across academia, industry, non-profits and civil society.

“I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with peers from industry and academia to help navigate our nation’s AI future,” said Howard. “The great promise of AI should be tethered to great responsibility among its designers. Much of my robotics research focuses on understanding, addressing and mitigating bias in AI algorithms, therefore I am encouraged by this committee’s conscientious effort to include a diverse range of voices, backgrounds and acumen in the conversation.”

The NAIAC is also directed to establish a subcommittee to consider matters related to the use of AI in law enforcement. This subcommittee will advise the president on topics that include bias, security of data, the adoptability of AI for security or law enforcement, and legal standards that include those that ensure that AI use is consistent with privacy rights, civil rights and civil liberties, and disability rights.

NAIAC logo

“AI is already transforming the world as we know it, including science, medicine, transportation, communications and access to goods and services,” said the head of the Office of Science and Technology and Deputy Assistant to the President Alondra Nelson. “The expertise of the NAIAC will be critical in helping to ensure the United States leads the world in the ethical development and adoption of AI, provides inclusive employment and education opportunities for the American public, and protects civil rights and civil liberties in our digital age.”

In July of last year, Ohio State began leading two new $20 million NSF institutes dedicated to advancing AI research: the AI Institute for Intelligent Cyberinfrastructure with Computational Learning in the Environment and the AI Institute for Future Edge Networks and Distributed Intelligence. In September, the university was awarded a $15 million NSF grant to lead the creation of the interdisciplinary Imageomics Institute, which will utilize machine learning algorithms to analyze vast stores of existing image data to expand understanding of the rules of life on Earth and how it evolves.

In addition to Dean Howard, the newly appointed NAIAC members include:

  • Miriam Vogel (Chair), EqualAI, Inc.
  • James Manyika (Vice Chair), Google
  • Zoë Baird, Markle Foundation
  • Yll Bajraktari, Special Competitive Studies Project
  • Amanda Ballantyne, Technology Institute at AFL-CIO
  • Sayan Chakraborty, Workday, Inc.
  • Jack Clark, Anthropic
  • David Danks, University of California, San Diego
  • Victoria Espinel, BSA: The Software Alliance
  • Paula Goldman, Salesforce
  • Susan Gonzales, AIandYou
  • Janet Haven, Data & Society Research Institute
  • Daniel E. Ho, Stanford University
  • Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University
  • Ramayya Krishnan, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Ashley Llorens, Microsoft Research Outreach
  • Haniyeh Mahmoudian, DataRobot, Inc.
  • Christina Montgomery, IBM Corporation
  • Liz O’Sullivan, Parity
  • Frederick L. Oswald, Rice University
  • Frank Pasquale, Brooklyn Law School
  • Trooper Sanders, Benefits Data Trust
  • Navrina Singh, Credo AI
  • Swami Sivasubramanian, Amazon Web Services
  • Keith Strier, NVIDIA, Inc.
  • Reggie Townsend, SAS Institute

The committee will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, May 4, 2022. The meeting will be open to the public via webcast.

Committee members will serve three-year terms and may serve two consecutive terms at the discretion of the secretary. The National Institute of Standards and Technology will provide administrative support to the committee. For more information on the NAIAC and its responsibilities, visit https://www.ai.gov/naiac/.

Categories: CollegeFaculty
Tag: AI