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NIST Requests Information on Artificial Intelligence Technical Standards and Tools

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

GAITHERSBURG, Md.—The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking information about technical standards and related tools for artificial intelligence (AI). The Request for Information (RFI), published today in the Federal Register, is in response to the Feb. 11, 2019, Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence. The executive order directs NIST to create a plan for federal engagement in the development of these standards and tools in support of reliable, robust and trustworthy systems that use AI technologies. 

“The inputs of the U.S. stakeholder community are essential to inform development of a plan that will support continued American leadership in AI,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan. “Sound technical standards, performance metrics and tools are needed to foster public trust and confidence in AI technologies, enabling the market adoption of the next wave of innovations that will contribute to the economic and national security of the United States.”

To develop the plan, NIST will engage with other federal agencies, the private sector, academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders with an interest and expertise in AI and related standards. 

Responses to the RFI will help develop a common understanding of the current state, plans, challenges and opportunities regarding the development and availability of AI technical standards and related tools, as well as federal agencies’ standards-related priorities. 

“NIST has a long history of cultivating trust in technologies through advancing the measurement science and standards that make technologies more secure, usable, interoperable and reliable,” said Copan. “As AI continues to change the way we live and work, robust standards will help ensure understanding and validation of these rapidly evolving technologies.” 

The RFI focuses on three areas: the status of and plans for AI technical standards and related tools development, defining and achieving U.S. leadership in AI standards, and prioritizing federal government engagement in AI standardization. Topics for which information is requested include existing standards and tools, the organizations currently addressing the need for standards, where the U.S. is effectively leading standards development, and the unique needs of the federal government. 

Comments are due by 5 p.m. Eastern time on May 31, 2019, and may be submitted via email to ai_standards@nist.gov, or by mail to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 2000, Gaithersburg, MD 20899. Comments will be made publicly available without redaction. 

To further promote discussions in support of a federal plan for engagement in AI technical standards development, NIST will host a workshop on May 30, 2019, at its Gaithersburg, Maryland, campus.  

NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. NIST is a nonregulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. To learn more about NIST, visit www.nist.gov

Released May 1, 2019, Updated May 8, 2019