The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has launched a new Public Working Group on Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced last week.

NIST said on June 22 that the new group will help address the opportunities and challenges associated with generative AI, and also guide organizations in developing key guidance to address the special risks associated with the emerging technology.

“President Biden has been clear that we must work to harness the enormous potential while managing the risks posed by AI to our economy, national security and society,” Secretary Raimondo said in a statement.

“The recently released NIST AI Risk Management Framework can help minimize the potential for harm from generative AI technologies,” she added. “Building on the framework, this new public working group will help provide essential guidance for those organizations that are developing, deploying and using generative AI, and who have a responsibility to ensure its trustworthiness.”

NIST has laid out short-term, midterm, and long-term goals for its new Public Working Group on Generative AI.

Initially, the agency said the group will serve as a vehicle for gathering input on guidance that describes how the NIST AI Risk Management Framework may be used to support development of generative AI technologies. This type of guidance is intended to support and encourage use of the framework in addressing related risks, NIST said.

In the midterm, the working group will support NIST’s work on testing, evaluation, and measurement related to generative AI.

Lastly, NIST said in the longer term the group will explore specific opportunities to “increase the likelihood that powerful generative AI technologies are productively used to address top challenges of our time in areas such as health, the environment and climate change.”

The group aims to ensure that risks are addressed and managed before, during, and after AI applications are developed and used.

NIST said its Public Working Group on Generative AI will draw upon volunteers – with technical experts from the private and public sectors – and will focus on risks related to generative AI.

“This new group is especially timely considering the unprecedented speed, scale and potential impact of generative AI and its potential to revolutionize many industries and society more broadly,” said NIST Director Laurie Locascio. “We want to identify and develop tools to better understand and manage those risks, and we hope to attract broad participation in this new group.”

The launch of NIST’s new generative AI working group came on the heels of a meeting President Biden convened last week with leading AI experts and researchers in San Francisco, as part of the White House’s commitment to seizing the opportunities and managing the risks posed by AI.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.