Biden establishes the figure of CAIO (Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer)

(To Alessandro Rugolo)

Last March 28th the Memorandum M-24-10 whose object is: "Advancing Governance, Innovation, and Risk Management for Agency Use of Artificial Intelligence".

The document focuses on three macro objectives:

- Strengthening AI Governance;

- Advancing Responsible AI Innovation;

- Managing Risks from the Use of AI.

I will focus for a moment on the first, leaving aside the others, which although equally important do not represent big news.

Strengthening AI Governance is based onExecutive order of October 30, 2023 on "Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence". The recently published Memorandum resumes the presidential provisions and dictates the implementation times and the rules to be respected for the appointment of Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer (CAIO) of the federal agencies.

The memorandum states that the appointment of the CAIO must take place within sixty days, or by the end of May.

The figure must have experience, preparation and authority to supervise the Agency's activities in which Artificial Intelligence technologies are used.

His main responsibilities are

- coordinate the use of AI in your agency;

- promote innovation related to AI;

- manage the risks deriving from the use of AI.

But why is the introduction of the CAIO figure important? What changes from the current management?

The importance of this new professional figure is directly linked to the revolutionary capabilities of Artificial Intelligence, as "disruptive technology"!

The introduction of this new figure within the Federal Agencies will have repercussions in the world of work. There are several hundred federal agencies in the United States and the appointment of a figure at the level of Senior Executives or Senior Leader will lead to the creation of numerous offices which will absorb part of the staff with knowledge in the field currently employed by the industry. The times dictated by the memorandum are short and this could create problems in identifying personnel. 

On the other hand, the creation of operational structures dedicated to the use of AI in Agencies will give rise to new use cases and also new needs, consequently stimulating application research.

Naturally, everything will have to be supported by an injection of funds into the sector and this is actually happening. If you read the Memorandum carefully, contrary to what normally happens here, the needs for organizational and personnel transformation are not "at no cost".

And in Italy?

In Italy, initiatives on Artificial Intelligence are multiplying but it does not seem that the new figure has yet taken hold. 

It is difficult to think that there could be any change in the short term: investments in AI by the State in past years have been quite modest, even if last March there were declarations by the Undersecretary of Innovation Alessio Butti who outlined a National Strategy on AI which should be financed with one billion euros. At the moment they are only intentions, we will see what the reality will be.

Hypothesizing the introduction of an important figure like the CAIO in the state organizational structures is too far from reality and, if it is ever done, a "double role" will probably be given to those who are already overworked. Forgive the mistrust! 

As always, we observe what happens and try to have our say to improve things, hoping not to arrive, as often happens, too late.

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