Note: there were more than 20 questions from the public submitted to the NAIAC during this open Committee Meeting but the NAIAC chose not to answer any of the questions received.
The US National AI Advisory Committee (NAIAC) consists of expert leaders from a broad and interdisciplinary range of AI-relevant disciplines from across academia, industry, non-profits and civil society, and Federal laboratories.
The NAIAC is tasked with providing an independent assessment of the Initiative and making recommendations to the President and the the National AI Initiative Office (NAIIO) on topics related to AI research and development, ethics, standards, education, technology transfer, commercial application, security, and economic competitiveness.
Congress directed the NAIAC to submit a report to the President and Congress after the first year, and then again every three years, to provide the Committee’s findings and recommendations on the National AI Initiative.
The National AI Advisory Committee exists within the Department of Commerce and operates in coordination with several other US agencies. The Advisory Committee was established in response to the National AI Initiative Act of 2020. The initiative directs the NAIAC to provide recommendations on topics including the current state of U.S. AI competitiveness, the state of science around AI, and AI workforce issues. The committee also is responsible for advice regarding the management and coordination of the initiative itself, including its balance of activities and funding. to the National AI Initiative Act of 2020.
The Advisory Committee has a Charter that describes the work of the Committee. The Charter is divided into 14 sections:
One of the most interesting sections of the Charter concerns the Objective and Scope of Activities. This sections states:
The Committee shall provide advice to the President and the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office on matters related to the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative (Initiative). The purposes of the Initiative are: (1) ensuring continued United States leadership in artificial intelligence research and development; (2) leading the world in the development and use of trustworthy artificial intelligence systems in the public and private sectors; (3) preparing the present and future United States workforce for the integration of artificial intelligence systems across all sectors of the economy and society; and (4) coordinating ongoing artificial intelligence research, development, and demonstration activities among the civilian agencies, the Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Community to ensure that each informs the work of the others.
Another key section of the Charter is the Description of Duties. This section states:
The Committee shall advise the President and the Initiative Office on matters related to the Initiative, including recommendations related to:
a. The current state of United States competitiveness and leadership in artificial intelligence, including the scope and scale of United States investments in artificial intelligence research and development in the international context;
b. The progress made in implementing the Initiative, including a review of the degree to which the Initiative has achieved the goals according to the metrics established by the Interagency Committee under Section 5103(d)(2) of the Act;
c. The state of the science around artificial intelligence, including progress toward artificial general intelligence;
d. Issues related to artificial intelligence and the United States workforce, including matters relating to the potential for using artificial intelligence for workforce training, the possible consequences of technological displacement, and supporting workforce training opportunities for occupations that lead to economic self-sufficiency for individuals with barriers to employment and historically underrepresented populations, including minorities, Indians, low- income populations, and persons with disabilities;
e. How to leverage the resources of the Initiative to streamline and enhance operations in various areas of government operations, including health care, cybersecurity, infrastructure, and disaster recovery;
f. The need to update the Initiative;
g. The balance of activities and funding across the Initiative;
h. Whether the strategic plan developed or updated by the Interagency Committee is helping to maintain United States leadership in artificial intelligence;
i. The management, coordination, and activities of the Initiative;
j. Whether ethical, legal, safety, security, and other appropriate societal issues are adequately addressed by the Initiative;
k. Opportunities for international cooperation with strategic allies on artificial intelligence research activities, standards development, and the compatibility of international regulations;
l. Accountability and legal rights, including matters relating to oversight of artificial intelligence systems using regulatory and nonregulatory approaches, the responsibility for any violations of existing laws by an artificial intelligence system, and ways to balance advancing innovation while protecting individual rights; and
m. How artificial intelligence can enhance opportunities for diverse geographic regions of the United States, including urban, Tribal, and rural communities.
(Duties of particular interest to CAIDP are emphasized)
National AI Advisory Committee (NAIAC)
June 20, 22, 27, 2023
National AI Advisory Committee (NAIAC)
April 25, 2023
National AI Advisory Committee (NAIAC) Field Hearing and Committee Meeting
February 10, 2023
No additional information regarding the activities of the Committee or the proposed recommendations to the President and the Congress were made available to the public, in a violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Federal Freedom of Information Act.
We write to you now to raise specific concerns about the NAIAC’s failure to comply with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. . . .
We remain in support of the mission of the NAIAC, but we are now deeply concerned about the operation of the Advisory Committee. We urge you to take the actions detailed below to provide the necessary transparency, accountability, and public participation that the development of a report for the President on AI policy requires. . . .
We request a formal response to this letter by Friday, November 11, 2022
1. Post All of the Documents made Available or Prepared for Advisory Committee Members
2. Provide a Meaningful Opportunity for Public Participation in the Work of the Advisory Committee
3. Establish the AI and Law Enforcement Subcommittee
4. Provide a Justification for Hiring a Private Contractor to Write the NAIAC Report or Simply have Advisory Committee Members to Write their Report
The Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP) welcomes the opportunity to express our views for the upcoming meeting of the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC). . . .
We write first to express support for the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, announced at the White House this week. Implementation of the AI Bill of Rights will help counter bias and protect fundamental rights in the design and deployment of AI-based systems in in the United States. We have worked for almost a year in support of the AI Bill of Rights. . . .
The mandate of the NAIAC includes also “opportunities for international cooperation.” . . . We believe the White House should commit to a plan to implement the OECD AI Principles and we recommend that you propose this in your report.
We call your attention to the 2021Joint Statement by the EU-US Trade and Technology Council. Trade negotiators committed “to foster responsible stewardship of trustworthy AI” and “to ensure that AI serves our societies and economies and that it is used in ways consistent with our common democratic values and human rights.” The EU-US Joint Statement also emphasized the need to adopt “policy and regulatory measures.”
Finally, we hope you will provide a meaningful opportunity for public comment on the draft report you propose to send to the President and Congress.
The US lacks a unified national policy on AI but President Biden, and his top advisors, has expressed support for AI aligned with democratic values. The United States has endorsed the OECD/G20 AI Principles. The White House has issued two Executive Orders on AI that reflect democratic values, a federal directive encourages agencies to adopt safeguards for AI, The most recent Executive Order also establishes a process for public participation in the development of federal regulations on AI though the rulemaking has yet to occur. The overall US policy-making process remains opaque and the Federal Trade Commission has failed to act on several pending complaints concerning the deployment of AI techniques in the commercial sector. But the administration has launched new initiatives and encouraged the OSTP, NIST, and other agencies to gather public input. There is widespread objection to the use of facial recognition, and both Facebook and the IRS have cancelled facial recognition systems, following widespread protests. But concerns remain about the use of facial surveillance technology across the federal agencies by such US companies as Clearview AI. The absence of a legal framework to implement AI safeguards and a federal agency to safeguard privacy also raises concerns about the ability of the US to monitor AI practices.
As of October 13, 2022, it does not appear that the NAIAC has posted the the Public Comments received as required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
UPDATE - Following the October 28 letter from CAIDP to the NAIAC, the public comments received for the October meeting were posted on the NAIAC website. According to the NAIAC, only four public comments were received for a public consultation on the nation's AI strategy. The public comments for the April meeting still have not been posted.
As of October 13, 2022, it does not appear that the NAIAC has posted the Meeting Records as required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act
"The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) governs the operation of federal advisory committees and emphasizes public involvement through open meetings and reporting. Meetings must be announced in the Federal Register. Reports, transcripts, working papers, and other materials made available to or prepared for or by the committees must be made available to the public."
From the Act:
Pursuant to Section 5104(e) of the Act, the Committee’s Chairperson shall establish a subcommittee that shall provide advice to the President, through the Committee, on matters relating to the development of artificial intelligence relating to law enforcement, including advice on the following:
a. Bias, including whether the use of facial recognition by government authorities, including law enforcement agencies, is taking into account ethical considerations and addressing whether such use should be subject to additional oversight, controls, and limitations.
b. Security of data, including law enforcement’s access to data and the security parameters for that data.
c. Adoptability, including methods to allow the United States Government and industry to take advantage of artificial intelligence systems for security or law enforcement purposes while at the same time ensuring the potential abuse of such technologies is sufficiently mitigated.
d. Legal standards, including those designed to ensure the use of artificial intelligence systems are consistent with the privacy rights, civil rights and civil liberties, and disability rights issues raised by the use of these technologies.
At some point in 2023, members of the Law Enforcement subcommittee were posted to the NAIAC site, though as of August 3, 2023, there was still no information about the work of this committee which was mandated by Congress in 2020.
On July 21, 2022, the National Institute of Standards and Technology announced that it would provide a sole source contract to the Institute for Defense Analyses, Inc (IDA) for "synthesizing meetings; conducting research; collaborating with NAIAC staff and collaborators on research; and producing technical analysis of the committee’s findings, and recommendations." Specifically:
Task 1: The Contractor shall conduct research using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods as requested by the full NAIAC, its working groups, and Subcommittee on topic areas pertaining to the duties enumerated in the Act.
Task 2: The Contractor shall draft NAIAC reports that include the advice and recommendations pertaining to the statutory duties of the NAIAC and its Subcommittee, derived from Contractor research and analysis, meeting synthesis, and input from the Committee, working group, and Subcommittee members, and NAIAC support staff in an agreed upon format deemed acceptable by the COR.
Task 3: The Contractor shall prepare a fact sheet or memo with pertinent information related to the meeting or topic area being discussed in advance of NAIAC, working group, or Subcommittee meetings. The COR/TPOC will advise the Contractor if a fact sheet or memo will be needed and the completion date for any deliverables will be mutually determined by the Contractor and COR.
Task 4: The Contractor shall attend full NAIAC, working group, and subcommittee meetings to synthesize conclusions and consolidate findings and recommendations into an outline as a basis for the interim report for the NAIAC’s review and approval.
Task 5: Once approved, the contractor shall develop an interim report based on the outline in collaboration with NAIAC for the committee’s review and approval.
Task 6: (Optional Task): The contractor shall provide the interim report to a technical review board for review/comments. The contractor shall assist the Government with drafting a Request for Information (RFI) for public comments.
Task 7: The contractor shall finalize the report based on the feedback gathered for the NAIAC’s review and approval.
As of October 13, 2022, the NAIAC has provided no justification for the decision to hire a private contractor to write the Advisory Committee report