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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo Announces Expansion of U.S. AI Safety Institute Leadership Team

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced today additional members of the executive leadership team of the U.S. AI Safety Institute (AISI), which is housed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Raimondo named Paul Christiano as Head of AI Safety, Adam Russell as Chief Vision Officer, Mara Campbell as Acting Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff, Rob Reich as Senior Advisor, and Mark Latonero as Head of International Engagement. They will join AISI Director Elizabeth Kelly and Chief Technology Officer Elham Tabassi, who were announced in February. The AISI was established within NIST at the direction of President Biden, including to support the responsibilities assigned to the Department of Commerce under the President’s landmark Executive Order.

“To safeguard our global leadership on responsible AI and ensure we’re equipped to fulfill our mission to mitigate the risks of AI and harness its benefits, we need the top talent our nation has to offer. That is precisely why we’ve selected these individuals, who are the best in their fields, to join the U.S. AI Safety Institute executive leadership team,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Developing guidelines that will strengthen our safety and security, engaging with civil society and business, and working in lockstep with our allies are fundamental to addressing this generation-defining technology. Because of President Biden’s leadership, we’re cultivating the talent pool necessary to achieve these critical goals.”

 “At the direction of President Joe Biden, the United States Government is moving fast and using every tool at our disposal to seize the promise of AI while managing the risks,” said Bruce Reed, White House Deputy Chief of Staff. “One of the best levers we have to get this right is to bring in the experts from civil society to tech innovators to scientists. We are building a strong team across government to keep pace with this technology, protect our interests, and shape it in accordance with our values.”

“I am very pleased to welcome these talented experts to the U.S. AI Safety Institute leadership team to help establish the measurement science that will support the development of AI that is safe and trustworthy,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio. “They each bring unique experiences that will help the institute build a solid foundation for AI safety going into the future.”

Paul Christiano, Head of AI Safety, will design and conduct tests of frontier AI models, focusing on model evaluations for capabilities of national security concern. Christiano will also contribute guidance on conducting these evaluations, as well as on the implementation of risk mitigations to enhance frontier model safety and security. Christiano founded the Alignment Research Center, a non-profit research organization that seeks to align future machine learning systems with human interests by furthering theoretical research. He also launched a leading initiative to conduct third-party evaluations of frontier models, now housed at Model Evaluation and Threat Research (METR). He previously ran the language model alignment team at OpenAI, where he pioneered work on reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF), a foundational technical AI safety technique. He holds a PhD in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mara Quintero Campbell, Acting Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff, will be responsible for staff and decision-making coordination and design, execution, and oversight of the AISI operations and activities. Most recently, Campbell served as Deputy Chief Operating Officer within the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA), where she managed the internal operations for 300 staff across six regional offices and headquarters. While at EDA, she was charged with running major projects, including COVID response and implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act and the CHIPS and Science Act programs. Before EDA, Campbell was Associate General Counsel and Acting General Counsel at the Inter-American Foundation. She holds a law degree from American University, Washington College of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Bard College.

Adam Russell, Chief Vision Officer, will shape and help implement the vision and strategy for the AISI, while also communicating that vision externally. Russell is the Director of the Information Sciences Institute’s (ISI) AI Division at the University of Southern California. Russell previously worked at University of Maryland’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS), where he focused on human-AI teaming, forecasting, and collective intelligence. While at UMD, he also helped stand up the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Prior to UMD and ARPA-H, Russell served in government for over a decade, both as a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – launching programs focused on the social sciences and AI – and as a Program Manager at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) – launching programs on enhancing intelligence and measuring trust and trustworthiness. He received a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and holds a B.A. in cultural anthropology from Duke University. 

Rob Reich, Senior Advisor, will advise the AI Safety Institute and lead engagement with civil society organizations to help ensure that AISI efforts reflect the feedback and input of a diversity of stakeholders. Reich will be on public service leave from Stanford University, where he is a professor of Political Science at Stanford University, Associate Director of the Institute for Human-Centered AI, Co-Director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and past Director of the Center for Ethics in Society. He has authored a number of books that address technology, ethics, and policy. He holds a PhD in the philosophy of education from Stanford University, and a B.A. in philosophy from Yale University.

Mark Latonero, Head of International Engagement, will lead AISI’s international collaboration to help achieve globally aligned approaches to guidance, testing, and standards development. He will also work to expand partnerships with counterpart government Institutes, multilateral organizations, international standards organizations, and other scientific offices to further the vision of a global scientific network for AI safety. Latonero was most recently the Deputy Director of the National AI Initiative Office at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he helped lead on international AI policy, including on the AI executive order, and coordinated AI activities across the federal government and with private sector and civil society stakeholders. He was previously a senior policy advisor for AI and international cooperation at NIST and worked on the AI Risk Management Framework. He has also served as a senior consultant for the United Nations Executive Office of the Secretary General and Human Rights Office and as a senior policy advisor at the Partnership on AI. Latonero holds a PhD from the University of Southern California, specializing in the social impact of emerging technologies, and was a postdoctoral research scholar at the London School of Economics.

Originally posted at https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2024/04/us-commerce-secretary-gina-raimondo-announces-expansion-us-ai-safety

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