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Energy announces new office to handle AI, quantum and more

Helena Fu, a former White House official, will serve as the director for the Office of Critical and Emerging Technology and as DOE’s chief AI officer.
Department of Energy (DOE)
(Department of Energy / Flickr)

The Department of Energy announced a new office that brings together expertise across the fields of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum and semiconductors to accelerate innovative progress. 

Standing up the Office of Critical and Emerging Technology was called for as part ofPresident Joe Biden’s AI executive order, which charged DOE with establishing the office as one way to strengthen national resilience against the impacts of climate change and to begin building a greener energy economy for the future.

“DOE National Laboratories have been central to the nation’s scientific and technological advancement, and we are preparing to ensure that, as new technologies emerge, the United States leads the way in exploring those frontiers,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in the release. “Our new [office] will leverage DOE’s world-class scientists and technical capabilities in the interest of American security and competitiveness.”

Helena Fu, a former White House official, will serve as the director for the office. 

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Fu served on the National Security Council and with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, with additional federal experience on environment planning projects. She will also serve as the DOE’s chief AI officer and assume responsibility for coordinating the department’s use of AI, managing risks with AI usage and promoting innovation, according to the DOE press release.

The office will work specifically as a point of contact for the federal government, in partnership with industry and academia, regarding critical and emerging technologies. Its mission includes ensuring that the federal government “continues to be at the forefront of research, development and deployment of key innovations impacting U.S. competitiveness and security.”

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