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U.S. Justice Department appoints first ever AI officer to advance its technical expertise

Recently, we have seen the U.S. government bodies making efforts to curb the dangers of AI. After the consortium was built in collaboration with prominent tech giants, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has appointed its first Chief Science and Technology Advisor and Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer.

Jonathan Mayer, selected for this position, will be responsible for communicating with the Attorney General and other departments in the DoJ. Mayer will discuss technical expertise, cybersecurity, AI, and other emerging concerns about new technology.

Additionally, Mayer will lead the “Department’s technological capacity-building efforts”. His responsibilities would include advising on the recruitment of skilled individuals to help advance the Department’s technical expertise.

The department is also establishing a team of technical and policy experts for cross-departmental collaborations to tackle technological issues. The group will work with federal partners and components across the DoJ. The team will be formed by Mayer who will be a part of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced this information stating:

“The Justice Department must keep pace with rapidly evolving scientific and technological developments in order to fulfill our mission to uphold the rule of law, keep our country safe, and protect civil rights. Jonathan’s expertise will be invaluable in ensuring that the entire Justice Department — including our law enforcement components, litigating components, grantmaking entities, and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices — is prepared for both the challenges and opportunities that new technologies present.”

As the Justice Department’s Chief AI Officer, Mayer will be expected to work on “intra-departmental and cross-agency efforts on AI and adjacent issues.” He will also be required to lead the DoJ’s Emerging Technology Board for further coordinating efforts across departments.

Mayer’s role is pivotal in ensuring the technical advancements of the Department. The DoJ, thus, explained his expertise by clarifying:

“Mayer is an assistant professor at Princeton University’s Department of Computer Science and School of Public and International Affairs. His research has focused on the intersection of technology, policy, and law with an emphasis in criminal procedure, national security, and consumer protection. Mayer holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.”

All in all, the DoJ’s Office of Legal Policy aims to reinforce the department’s policy initiatives, increase collaborative efforts between departments toward complex projects, and provide advice to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General.

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