NASA has a new chief AI officer

Several CDOs have now taken on the role.
The silhouette of US engineer and NASA astronaut Megan McArthur is seen past the NASA logo in the Webb Auditorium at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC. (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

NASA has named David Salvagnini, the space agency’s chief data officer, as its chief artificial intelligence officer, fulfilling a requirement laid out in recent White House guidance and President Joe Biden’s executive order on AI

In a press release, NASA said that Salvagnini will help lead the agency’s work on developing AI technology, as well as its collaborations with academic institutions and other experts. Salvagnini will replace Kate Calvin, the agency’s chief scientist and former responsible AI official, in leading NASA’s efforts on the technology. 

“Artificial intelligence has been safely used at NASA for decades, and as this technology expands, it can accelerate the pace of discovery,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. “It’s important that we remain at the forefront of advancement and responsible use. In this new role, David will lead NASA’s efforts to guide our agency’s responsible use of AI in the cosmos and on Earth to benefit all humanity.”  

NASA makes use of myriad forms of artificial intelligence, according to the agency’s AI inventory


NASA’s announcement comes after several agencies have already appointed individuals to the chief AI officer roles, including the National Science Foundation, the General Services Administration, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Several others have also opted to name their chief data officers as their chief AI officers. 

Rebecca Heilweil

Written by Rebecca Heilweil

Rebecca Heilweil is an investigative reporter for FedScoop. She writes about the intersection of government, tech policy, and emerging technologies. Previously she was a reporter at Vox's tech site, Recode. She’s also written for Slate, Wired, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. You can reach her at Message her if you’d like to chat on Signal.

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