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New Perspectives on the Role of Chief AI Officer in NSF

Summary

In a recent development, Dorothea Aronson has been appointed as the Chief AI Officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF). This decision aligns with President Biden’s executive order on artificial intelligence. Terry Carpenter, advisor to the NSF Director, emphasized the […]

New Perspectives on the Role of Chief AI Officer in NSF

In a recent development, Dorothea Aronson has been appointed as the Chief AI Officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF). This decision aligns with President Biden’s executive order on artificial intelligence.

Terry Carpenter, advisor to the NSF Director, emphasized the importance of this position during an interview. The agency decided to select Aronson, who already holds the position of Chief Data Officer and has extensive experience in the field, to continue her role as the Chief AI Officer.

According to President Biden’s executive order on AI (EO 14110), larger government agencies were required to appoint a Chief AI Officer within 60 days of receiving guidance from the Office of Management and Budget. The role of this officer includes coordinating the use of AI within the agency, promoting AI innovation, and managing risks.

While some agencies already had a Chief AI Officer prior to the executive order, such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, others are now considering or announcing their internal structure. The General Services Administration revealed that Zak Vitman serves as their Chief AI Officer, while the Department of Education appointed Vijay Sharma as their official.

It is worth noting that agencies were previously mandated to have a designated official for AI under President Trump’s executive order on AI (EO 13960). However, the responsibilities of these officials will also be integrated into the role of the Chief AI Officers “alongside other roles and duties outlined in the OMB’s draft guidance,” according to an OMB spokesperson via email.

Aronson, who was also interviewed, shared her involvement in AI initiatives at NSF as the Chief Data Officer. She highlighted the importance of data in driving AI advancements and stated, “In recent years, my focus has been on improving data quality at NSF and our ability to leverage data.”

Aronson’s appointment to this new position comes at a time when NSF is still finalizing the reporting structure and relationships among technology roles within the agency, according to Carpenter.

Carpenter, who joined the agency in July after approximately 14 years in the Department of Defense, emphasized the centralization of IT functions in preparation for the CHIPS and Science Act 2022, as well as expanding the agency’s mission.

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