United States – On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department announced the name of its first official AI officer to deal with the challenges that AI might bring to federal law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

Princeton University professor Jonathan Mayer – an expert in technology and law – has been appointed chief science and technology advisor and chief AI officer, the department declared, as reported by Reuters.

The Justice Department must not lag behind the pace at which science and technology progress in order to execute the task that we are called upon to carry out which is to abide by the law, ensure our country’s safety, and protect civil rights,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Mayer will give Garland and the department leadership feedback on the issues revolving around new technologies, such as designing AI tools to be applied in the department’s investigations and prosecuting criminals.

American authorities disagree about the best way to deal with the risks of a technology which is tightly managed yet still rapidly expanding on one hand and exploitation of its advantages on the other hand, as reported by Reuters.

AI Successes in Law Enforcement

Represent – AI Successes in Investigation of illegal sources. Credit | Adobe Stock

The Justice Department has already succeeded in AI to traffic the source of illegal drugs like opioids and other ones, in analyzing some tips sent to the FBI, and in organizing the evidence collected on its investigation into the Jan. 6th, 2021, Capitol of US attack, Lisa Monaco, the Deputy Attorney General, said during a speech in the UK last week.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of AI

According to Monaco, the technology might assist the US in identifying and thwarting terrorist plots and aggressive acts by US foes. However, she added that the department is also worried about how it might reinforce preexisting prejudices, rig elections, and open up new avenues for cybercriminals to operate.

“Every new technology is a double-edged sword, but AI may be the sharpest blade yet,” Monaco said during a speech at Oxford University.

Mayer, who has just been appointed to head a board of a new formation of law enforcement and civil rights officials that will advise Garland and other justice officials at the Department of Justice on the ethics and effectiveness of AI systems. He will also work to hire more IT specialists in the organization, as reported by Reuters.

Mayer’s Background and Responsibilities

Mayer acted as the tech adviser to Senator Kamala Harris, who is the VP now, and also had experience working for an agency called the Federal Communications Commission.


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