NIST Issues RFI Seeking Comments to Inform the Development of AI Standards and Tools

The National institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking feedback from industry stakeholders to inform the development of new standards and tools to support systems that use artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

February’s Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence requires NIST to create a plan for developing technical standards and tools to support the creation of reliable, robust and trustworthy AI-based systems, along with tools that will are necessary or helpful in reducing barriers to the safe testing and deployment of AI-based systems.

NIST is seeking comments from stakeholders to improve its understanding of the current uses of AI, the opportunities offered by AI-based systems, and the challenges currently faced.  NIST hopes stakeholder comments will help to determine current priority areas.

The RFI has three main areas of focus:

  • The status of and plans for AI technical standards and related tools development
  • Defining and achieving U.S. leadership in AI standards
  • Prioritizing federal government engagement in AI standardization

NIST seeks information on current standards and tools along with the names of the organizations addressing the need for standards and whether they have addressed sector-specific needs or if they can be applied more broadly.

NIST is also keen to find out where U.S. companies are leading the development of standards and how federal agencies can help to meet the needs of developing standards and AI tools.

Standards-related tools can include, but are not limited to, testing tools (covering conformance, performance, interoperability, and stress testing), reference data and data sets, use cases, training programs, and reference implementations

“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,” explained NIST Director Walter G. Copan.

Comments are being sought from the private sector, academic institutions, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders with expertise in AI and related standards to inform development of the plan.

NIST is required to develop its plan within 180 days of the executive order and will be accepting public comments up until May 31, 2019. NIST will also be hosting a workshop on May 30 at its Gaithersburg, Maryland, campus to promote further discussions in support of its plan for engagement in AI technical standards.

Further information on the RFI and the specific areas where feedback required are available here.

Author: Steve Alder has many years of experience as a journalist, and comes from a background in market research. He is a specialist on legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA. Steve holds a B.Sc. from the University of Liverpool.