The Biden-Harris administration has officially unveiled the launch of a dedicated consortium focused on AI safety. Prompted by an executive order from President Joe Biden, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has initiated the establishment of the U.S. AI Safety Institute (USAISI). The primary objective of this institute is to formulate stringent standards for testing AI models, ensuring their safety for public utilization. A pivotal component of USAISI’s endeavours is the introduction of a new consortium, which invites participation from organizations keen on advancing AI safety. Following NIST’s call for consortium participants in November 2023, this week’s announcement heralds the formal inception of the AI Safety Institute Consortium (AISIC).
Comprising over 200 stakeholders from diverse sectors, the inaugural cohort boasts representation from renowned entities. Among the private sector members are tech giants like Apple, Meta, and Microsoft. Leading educational institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University, the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI, and Ohio State University also join the consortium, alongside public sector participants like the State of Kansas Office of Information Technology Services and the State of California Department of Technology.
Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo emphasized the consortium’s alignment with President Biden’s directives, highlighting its role in establishing safety standards and safeguarding the innovation ecosystem. Described as the most extensive assembly of test and evaluation teams to date, the consortium comprises experts deeply involved in exploring AI’s societal implications.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed commended President Biden’s executive order for laying the foundation for collaborative efforts within the AI Safety Consortium. Additionally, key leadership appointments within USAISI were announced earlier this week, with Elizabeth Kelly appointed as the inaugural director and Elham Tabassi assuming the role of chief technology officer. Kelly will oversee executive leadership and coordinate with other AI policy initiatives across the government, while Tabassi will spearhead technical programs and guide research efforts to evaluate AI models and offer guidance.