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NIST and the Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence


Illustration that shows an outline of a face and then icons to represent different areas of AI including heart (health), lock (cyber), windmills (energy), steering wheel (cars) and manufacturing arm
Credit: N. Hanacek/NIST

On Feb. 11, 2019, President Donald J. Trump issued the Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence.

The EO specifically directs NIST to create “a plan for Federal engagement in the development of technical standards and related tools in support of reliable, robust, and trustworthy systems that use AI technologies.”

“A key to adoption and acceptance of AI technologies is that they be seen as trustworthy,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan. “The National Institute of Standards and Technology is a leader in advancing foundational research that informs the development of technical standards and tools for information technology. The American AI Initiative emphasizes the importance of federal engagement in technical standards development for AI, and NIST’s critical role in these activities. NIST’s efforts will support the development of standards for AI that reflect federal priorities for innovation, public trust and confidence.”

NIST will work other federal agencies to support the EO’s principles of increasing federal investment in AI research and development, expanding access to data and computing resources, preparing the American workforce for the changes AI will bring, and protecting the United States’ advantage in AI technologies.

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Released February 14, 2019, Updated February 17, 2021