JAIC Completes Responsible AI Champions Pilot

  • By: The JAIC
Source: DVIDS(Source: DVIDS)

Artificial Intelligence is a powerful emerging and enabling technology that is rapidly transforming culture, society, and warfighting – the stakes could not be higher. As such, adopting and institutionalizing AI ethics is a foundation of the DoD’s AI Strategy. The first milestone in this journey occurred earlier this year when Secretary of Defense Mark Esper adopted the DoD AI Ethical Principles of responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable, and governable AI that are based on the robust and comprehensive work of the Defense Innovation Board. Another key milestone toward this goal was reached this past week, as the inaugural cohort of the Responsible AI Champions pilot completed two months of intensive study.

The objective of the Responsible AI Champions pilot is to introduce individuals to the role of ethics with AI, while expanding understanding of and operationalization of the DoD AI Ethical Principles throughout the design, development, deployment, and use of AI technologies.

This pilot led by Alka Patel, Head of AI Ethics Policy at the JAIC, included a cohort of 15 people from across the JAIC representing the primary functional areas. The cohort spent nine weeks engaged in experiential learning, discussing actionable ways in which the DoD AI Ethical Principles can shape and be shaped by each participant’s functional roles in the JAIC, and more broadly within the DoD. The initial training and weekly sessions were taught by a multidisciplinary group of subject matter experts with a mix of content, breakout discussions, and case studies. The outcome was the creation of a community of individuals who are knowledgeable advocates of the DoD AI Ethical principles, are helping to operationally define the principles substantively and through engineering practices, and who will engage in peer-to-peer teaching within their areas.

“This accomplishment marks an inflection point for the JAIC and DoD AI adoption. The Department is taking firm steps to take AI Ethics as a concept to AI Ethics as actionable and concrete components of how we manage this transformative technology – from first thoughts, to acquisition, to development and deployment, through sustainment and eventual retirement. This group will also be able to inform policy decisions,” said Nand Mulchandani, Acting Director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

“We owe it to the American people and our men and women in uniform to adopt AI principles that reflect our nation’s values. The Responsible AI Champions pilot is foundational to this effort,” he continued.

Due to the proven initial success of this pilot and very positive feedback from the cohort members, the goal is to further build out the curriculum and scale our community of Champions, eventually expanding the reach of the program across the DoD.