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AI Standards

NIST has released a plan for prioritizing federal agency engagement in the development of standards for artificial intelligence (AI) per the February 2019 Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership on Artificial Intelligence (EO 13859). The plan recommends the federal government “commit to deeper, consistent, long-term engagement in AI standards development activities to help the United States to speed the pace of reliable, robust, and trustworthy AI technology development.”

It calls for federal agencies to bolster AI standards-related knowledge, leadership, and coordination among agencies that develop or use AI; promote focused research on the trustworthiness of AI systems; support and expand public-private partnerships; and engage with international parties. 

NIST will participate in developing AI standards, along with the private sector and academia, that address societal and ethical issues, governance, and privacy policies and principles. These AI standards-related efforts include:

  • Supporting and conducting AI research and development
  • Actively engaging in AI standards development
  • Procuring and deploying standards-based products and services, and
  • Developing and implementing supportive policies, including regulatory policies where needed.

While the AI community has agreed that these issues must factor into AI standards, many decisions still need to be made about whether there is yet enough scientific and technical basis to develop those standards provisions. 

For news about this plan, see https://www.nist.gov/news-events/news/2019/08/plan-outlines-priorities-federal-agency-engagement-ai-standards-development

To provide the technical expertise and help develop and administer many of the future AI standards activities and development, NIST’s Information Technology Laboratory recently established an Associate Director for IT Standardization position.

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RFI

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Draft Plan

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Final Plan

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About

The U.S. Leadership in AI: A Plan for Federal Engagement in Developing Technical Standards and Related Tools report released on August 9, 2019, was prepared with broad public and private sector input. The plan identifies nine areas of focus for AI standards:

  • Concepts and terminology
  • Data and knowledge
  • Human interactions
  • Metrics
  • Networking
  • Performance testing and reporting methodology
  • Safety
  • Risk management
  • Trustworthiness

Through these focus areas, the Federal government will commit to deeper, consistent, long-term engagement in AI standards development activities to help the United States to speed the pace of reliable, robust, and trustworthy AI technology development. Specifically, the government will:

  1. Bolster AI standards-related knowledge, leadership, and coordination among Federal agencies to maximize effectiveness and efficiency.
  2. Promote focused research to advance and accelerate broader exploration and understanding of how aspects of trustworthiness can be practically incorporated within standards and standards-related tools
  3. Support and expand public-private partnerships to develop and use AI standards and related tools to advance reliable, robust, and trustworthy AI.
  4. Strategically engage with international parties to advance AI standards for U.S. economic and national security needs.

NIST will play an active role in advancing the AI standards strategies. NIST’s Information Technology Laboratory has recently established an Associate Director for IT Standardization position, which will help administer many of NIST’s future AI standards activities and development. 

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Created March 14, 2019, Updated November 19, 2019