The Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Artificial Intelligence (AI) Center (JAIC) selected Alka Patel, a pull from the private sector with “diverse skills and experience” to help lead its ethical AI adoption, per JAIC spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson on Feb. 28.

“I followed through on my previous commitment to hire someone to lead our work on implementation of AI ethics principles,” JAIC Director Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan said of the hiring in a Feb. 24 speech. “She has the right blend of technical, policy, legal, and ethics experience. In the coming months, she, along with the rest of our JAIC policy team, will be bringing together thought leaders from across the rest of the Department to work on the implementation of AI principles.”

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Abrahamson called her a “deep thinker” with “a strong and proven ethical foundation in her approach to fielding AI solutions.”

While Patel’s responsibilities or title was not disclosed, the JAIC spokesperson did say that she will help lead JAIC’s policy team. AI ethics will be part of her portfolio, but Patel will also be responsible for advising other technical and policy aspects of DoD’s AI adoption.

“Our teams will also be developing procurement guidance, technological safeguards, organizational controls, risk mitigation strategies and training measures,” Abrahamson added. “The JAIC will make these implementation measures available to the department and develop governance standards.  These are proactive and deliberate actions that will infuse a strong foundation for the implementation of AI ethical principles while allowing for flexibility to adapt as technology evolves.”

DoD did not confirm Patel’s start date.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.