The Department of Housing and Urban Development has selected its top financial official, Vinay Singh, to serve as the department’s chief artificial intelligence officer following a Biden executive order requiring such a position at federal agencies.
Singh will work closely with Beth Niblock, the department’s chief information officer, and senior official for policy development Solomon Greene “to advance responsible AI innovation, increase transparency, protect HUD employees and the public they serve, and manage risks from sensitive government uses of AI,” a spokesperson told FedScoop in an emailed statement.
Under President Joe Biden’s recent AI executive order (EO 14110), certain government agencies will be required to name a chief AI officer within 60 days of the Office of Management and Budget’s corresponding guidance, which is currently in draft form and being finalized. According to the order, the new CAIOs are responsible for coordinating an agency’s uses of AI, promoting AI innovation and managing risks, among other things.
While some agencies already had chief AI officers before the Biden order, such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, others are getting started publicly naming their officials.
In response to FedScoop inquiries, for example, the National Science Foundation and the General Services Administration both disclosed that their chief data officers will serve as each agency’s chief AI officer. The Department of Education also said it tapped its chief technology officer for the role.
Among the responsibilities for the chief AI officers outlined in OMB’s draft guidance will be vice chairing their agency’s AI governance board. Those boards, which will coordinate AI adoption and manage risk, are required within 60 days of OMB’s guidance and will be chaired by each agency’s deputy secretary.
Prior to the Biden administration order and draft guidance, agencies were already required to have a responsible AI official under a Trump administration order (EO 13960). But according to OMB’s draft guidance, the new chief AI officers will also carry out those responsibilities. For HUD, a decision about the existing role is forthcoming.
“The AI Governance Board will determine the appropriate role and integration of the Responsible AI Official into the important work ahead,” the HUD spokesperson said.
Outside of naming a CAIO, other agencies told FedScoop they’re making progress on AI-related work in response to inquiries.
A NASA spokesperson, for example, said the agency “is developing recommendations on leveraging emerging Artificial Intelligence technology to best serve our goals and missions, from sifting through Earth science imagery to identifying areas of interest, to searching for exoplanet data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, scheduling communications from the Perseverance Mars rover through the Deep Space Network, and more.”
Similarly, a Department of Transportation spokesperson said the agency is working on a “strategy to align with the EO.”
Rebecca Heilweil contributed to this story.