Biden Economic Adviser Elizabeth Kelly Picked to Lead AI Safety Testing Body

This article was written by Will Henshall for Time.

Elizabeth Kelly, formerly an economic policy adviser to President Joe Biden, has been named as director of the newly formed U.S. Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute (USAISI), U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced Wednesday.

“For the United States to lead the world in the development of safe, responsible AI, we need the brightest minds at the helm,” said Raimondo. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we’re in a position of power to meet the challenges posed by AI, while fostering America’s greatest strength: innovation.”

Kelly has previously contributed to the Biden Administration’s efforts to regulate AI with the AI Executive Order, which an Administration official tells TIME she was involved in the development of from the beginning.

Kelly was “a driving force behind the domestic components of the AI executive order, spearheading efforts to promote competition, protect privacy, and support workers and consumers, and helped lead Administration engagement with allies and partners on AI governance,” according to a press release announcing her appointment.

Previously, Kelly was special assistant to the President for economic policy at the White House National Economic Council. She served on the Biden transition and the Obama administration, and previously worked in banking.

The USAISI, which was set up by the White House late last year to develop AI safety tests for use by regulators, is just one of many ways that policymakers in the U.S. and around the world, alarmed by AI’s rapid progress, have tried to mitigate the risks posed by AI. In the U.S., the Biden Administration’s AI Executive Order sought to tackle a range of issues related to AI, including AI’s impact on civil rights and the lack of government uptake of AI. But it also requires AI companies developing the largest and most powerful AI models to report the results of any safety tests they carry out. AI policy issues remain a priority for the President and his team, according to an Administration official.

Vice President Kamala Harris announced the creation of the USAISI in November as part of her visit to the U.K. for the first global AI Safety Summit. Speaking at the U.S. embassy in London, Harris said at the time that the USAIS would “create rigorous standards to test the safety of AI models for public use.”

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Image credit: Photo by Caleb Perez on Unsplash

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