Commerce requests information about AI, open data assets, data dissemination

The agency said in a Federal Register posting that it seeks information from the public regarding how to enhance capabilities through AI while ensuring data quality.
Britain's Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan (R) greets U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo during the U.K. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, in central England, on Nov. 1, 2023. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Department of Commerce is requesting information concerning AI-ready open data assets, alongside the development of data dissemination standards. 

In a Federal Register posting Wednesday, Commerce calls on industry experts, civil society organizations, researchers and members of the public to share information about the challenges that data providers and users face in light of the emergence of generative AI and general AI technologies. 

In describing itself as “an authoritative provider of data,” the agency said it is looking to ensure the accuracy and integrity of data as AI intermediaries access and consume data.

The agency, according to the notice, is looking to specifically explore how it can make its own data assets “AI-ready” through the improvement of guidance and metadata concerning data usage, as well as licensing for purposes like text-and-data mining, AI system ingestion and research analytics. The notice also has callouts on allowing systems to link human terms to data variables through knowledge graphs for variable level metadata, and on using open standards for APIs with capabilities for linking knowledge graphs. 


“The challenge for Commerce, as an authoritative provider of data, is to ensure that these new AI intermediaries can appropriately access its data without losing the integrity, including quality, of said data,” the notice states. “Commerce hopes to ensure that the data these tools consume is easily accessible and ‘machine understandable,’ versus just ‘machine readable.’”

Within the notice, the agency states that it seeks to “adhere to its strategic mission,” which involves expanding opportunities and discoveries through data by disseminating already public data in AI-ready formats, “while ensuring no semantic meaning is lost.”

Commerce requested information on topics including data dissemination standards, data accessibility and retrieval, partnership engagement, data integrity and quality, data ethics and more. 

The agency on Tuesday announced an expansion to its AI Safety Institute leadership team, with five new members spanning knowledge in the federal government, academia and industry. The safety institute is housed within Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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