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U.S. Justice Department Appoints First Chief AI Officer
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In response to the burgeoning influence of artificial intelligence (AI) in federal law enforcement and the judicial system, the U.S. Justice Department announced the appointment of its inaugural official dedicated to AI matters on Thursday.

Jonathan Mayer Takes the Helm

Jonathan Mayer, a distinguished professor at Princeton University renowned for his expertise in the intersection of technology and law, assumes the pivotal roles of Chief Science and Technology Adviser and Chief AI Officer within the department.

Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized the imperative for the Justice Department to remain abreast of swift technological advancements, crucial for upholding the rule of law, national security, and civil liberties.

  
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Navigating the Terrain of Emerging Technologies

Mayer’s mandate entails providing counsel to Garland and other departmental leaders on navigating the complexities surrounding emerging technologies, notably AI, particularly in their integration into investigative practices and criminal prosecutions.

Acknowledging the delicate balance between harnessing AI’s potential benefits and mitigating its risks, U.S. officials are tasked with devising strategies to regulate its expansion effectively.

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AI’s Utility and Risks

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco highlighted AI’s utility in various law enforcement endeavors, including tracking illicit drug sources, analyzing FBI tips, and organizing evidence related to significant events such as the Capitol attack of January 6, 2021.

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However, Monaco cautioned against overlooking the technology’s inherent risks, such as exacerbating biases, electoral interference, and empowering cyber criminals.

Charting an Ethical Course

Mayer will lead a newly established board comprising law enforcement and civil rights experts to advise Garland and others on the ethical and operational dimensions of AI systems. Additionally, he aims to bolster the department’s technological expertise through recruitment initiatives.

Having previously served as technology adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris during her tenure as a U.S. senator and having contributed to the Federal Communications Commission, Mayer brings a wealth of experience to his new role in the Justice Department.

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