The New NIST AI Framework: Accelerating Trustworthy AI

To coincide with the launch of the National Institute for Standards in Technology’s (NIST) framework on AI risk, Workday’s Chandler Morse shares the importance of AI/ML in driving a skills-based workforce and how this new framework is integral to that effort.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools are indispensable for business leaders navigating the rapidly changing world. And that’s why we’re pleased to see an effort we’ve championed from its early days come to fruition with the completion of Version 1.0 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) AI Risk Management Framework, and celebrate its launch as a milestone in AI governance. At Workday, we believe that innovation can help unlock human potential and our vision for AI includes promoting its responsible use to inform decision making, identify opportunities, and improve experiences. For example, with skills representing the fundamental currency of the changing world of work, organizations benefit from an AI/ML talent-driven approach. In addition, we have long believed that trust is foundational to empowering our customers with innovative new technologies. That’s why we’ve committed ourselves to deliver AI/ML tools that are in line with our core values

At Workday, the NIST Framework has already informed our approach to AI governance, and we intend to use it moving forward.

To help ensure AI/ML technology can drive human progress, create job opportunities, and grow our economies, our co-CEO, co-founder and chair Aneel Bhusri has highlighted the need for stakeholders to work together to develop meaningful policies that embrace responsible approaches to AI/ML. Workday has long advocated for policies that bolster trust in technology, enable growth, and ignite innovation for the future of work. This includes leading conversations focused on AI/ML in Europe, with the U.S. Congress and federal agencies, and at the state and local level. So, on the heels of this Framework, we’re sharing our thoughts on what it means for AI regulation. 

What Is the NIST AI Framework?

In 2021, Congress directed NIST to develop a voluntary framework for trustworthy AI, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle understanding that cultivating trust in AI would sustain U.S. technology leadership. Over the course of a year and a half, NIST led an open, inclusive, multi-stakeholder process to develop the AI Framework, collaborating closely with academics, civic organizations, and companies, including Workday. The result is a how-to guide for organizations of all sizes, industries, and geographies to develop and use trustworthy AI. The Framework outlines common characteristics of trustworthiness and a comprehensive approach for mapping, measuring, managing, and governing potential AI risks. Importantly, it is designed to balance these risks with AI’s immense opportunity for unlocking human potential at scale

What Does This Mean for AI Governance?

With attention on AI regulation and policy development growing around the world, the NIST Framework is a much-needed and well-timed benchmark. NIST has a distinguished track record of developing frameworks that enable organizations to manage the complexity of technology risks and benefits. Its leading cybersecurity and privacy frameworks continue to inform best practices, technical standards, certifications, and regulations that are cornerstones of enterprise safeguards today. As AI governance continues to mature, the Framework promises to serve as a common language for thinking about and addressing AI risks.

Workday has long advocated for policies that bolster trust in technology, enable growth, and ignite innovation for the future of work.

Importantly, the Framework is already building bridges with the European Union’s draft Artificial Intelligence Act, a policy-making process in which Workday is heavily engaged. Last year, the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council, a government-to-government forum for transatlantic cooperation, put a spotlight on the commonalities between these two landmark approaches to AI governance in a joint roadmap, and it will likely be an important focus of the U.S.’s National AI Advisory Committee on which Workday’s Sayan Chakbraborty sits. Harmonization between the U.S. and EU is essential for organizations to develop and use trustworthy AI at scale.

What’s Next? 

With Version 1.0 of the Framework now published, business and technology leaders can make the most of this valuable tool. At Workday, the Framework has already informed our approach to AI governance, and we intend to use it moving forward. We applaud NIST for this important milestone. As we innovate with next-generation skills technology to help our customers advance their talent strategies, we’re excited to see the Framework accelerate the use of trustworthy AI. We look forward to partnering with NIST in our ongoing advocacy efforts to make it a reality. 

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