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The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a Request for Information (RFI). This initiative seeks public input to assist in the implementation of responsibilities outlined in the recent Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence. The deadline for responses is February 2, 2024​​​​.

The Executive Order, directed by President Biden, represents a comprehensive approach to manage the burgeoning risks and opportunities posed by AI. It mandates the development of new standards for AI safety and security, underscoring the critical need to protect Americans’ privacy, advance equity and civil rights, and ensure consumer and worker protection. This directive encompasses various aspects, including the development of standards, tools, and tests to ensure AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy, and the establishment of a robust framework for AI-enabled fraud and deception prevention​​.

NIST’s RFI calls for information in several key areas: AI red-teaming, generative AI risk management, minimizing the risk of synthetic content, and shaping responsible global technical standards for AI development. The responses will support NIST’s efforts to create a range of guidelines as mandated by the Executive Order. This encompasses the evaluation of AI technologies, the facilitation of consensus-based standards, and the provision of testing environments for AI systems​​.

The Biden administration’s focus on AI also includes setting guidelines for the testing and safeguarding of AI systems. Generative AI, capable of creating text, photos, and videos, has prompted concerns regarding its impact on jobs, elections, and the balance of power between humans and AI. The Executive Order instructs agencies to set standards for AI testing and address related chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity risks. NIST plays a central role in establishing these standards and guidelines, which are crucial for AI risk assessment and management​​.

Apart from AI safety and security, the Executive Order encompasses various other facets. It addresses the need to protect Americans’ privacy in the AI era, mitigate algorithmic discrimination and biases in justice, healthcare, and housing, and leverage AI for consumer benefits. Moreover, it focuses on adapting America’s workforce and workplaces to the changing landscape shaped by AI, promoting innovation and competition in AI, and establishing the U.S. as a global leader in responsible AI development and usage. These initiatives include working with international partners to develop safe and interoperable AI standards and ensuring responsible government deployment of AI​​.

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