National committee will advise the President on AI competition and ethics

But will it make a large impact on policy?

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Biden administration's focus on science will include a strong emphasis on artificial intelligence. The Commerce Department, National AI Initiative Office and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy are forming a National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC) to advise the President and federal officials on AI-related issues.

NAIAC will provide guidance on several AI concerns, including "competitiveness," employment, scientific progress, the viability of national strategy and future initiative revisions. The committee will also address ethical issues ranging from workforce equity to accountability and algorithmic bias.

Members will come from a "broad and interdisciplinary" pool including academics, companies, non-profits and federal labs. They'll be accepted on a continuous basis, with any eventual vacancies filled as they pop up.

This isn't the first major organization influencing the US government's use of AI. The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence has been urging officials to treat AI as a major concern. Members of Congress have also been pushing for greater adoption of AI in government. However, NAIAC could make AI a frequent consideration in government policy, not to mention shape AI-specific policies.

Whether or not the committee satisfies enough people is another matter. Some in Congress want hard limits on the use of AI, including a Democrat call for an outright ban on facial recognition in federal government. It should still lead to more informed decisions on AI — it's just uncertain whether or not those decisions will include all the right voices.