On May 1, 2019, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register regarding ongoing efforts to develop technical standards for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and the identification of priority areas for federal involvement in AI standards-related activities. Responses to the RFI are due by May 31, 2019.
The RFI comes in response to President Trump’s Executive Order to Maintain American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence, which among other actions directs NIST to develop a plan to guide the federal government’s engagement with initiatives to develop technical standards for AI technology (Plan). This RFI, along with others released by this Administration, reflect a desire to promote AI technologies that enhance America’s interests and strengthen the public’s trust and confidence in AI.
According to the RFI, NIST is seeking input from a variety of stakeholders, including industry, academia, and civil society, with the hopes of understanding more fully the following topics:
- The current status and plans regarding the availability, use, and development of AI technical standards and tools in support of reliable, robust, and trustworthy systems that use AI technologies;
- Needs and challenges regarding the existence, availability, use, and development of AI standards and tools; and
- The current and potential future role of Federal agencies regarding the existence, availability, use, and development of AI technical standards and tools to meet the nation’s needs.
To achieve a better understanding of the points above, NIST identifies 18 specific topics that it considers to be the “major areas” about which it needs more information. NIST categorizes these topics into three groupings:
- AI Technical Standards and Related Tools Development: Status and Plan
- Defining and Achieving U.S. AI Technical Standards Leadership
- Prioritizing Federal Government Engagement in AI Standardization
NIST will also be gathering information from the public through additional means, including public workshops, and it plans to release the draft Plan for public comment. It has also published a page dedicated to the AI Standards effort.