Industry leaders in tech, education and financial services join together in new national council to activate AI for the greater good

Coalition established to identify and solve significant societal and industry barriers through the adoption of AI

REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 11, 2020 — On Friday, leading organizations across the U.S. financial services, technology and academic industries announced the formation of a new National Council for Artificial Intelligence (NCAI). The council brings together the Brookings Institution, CUNY, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Mastercard, Microsoft, Nasdaq, Plug and Play, SUNY, University of Central Florida, and Visa with the goal of maximizing technology to jointly solve specific issues of interest to the industry.

“The goal of the newly created NCAI is to establish a pragmatic coalition with public-private partnerships in the financial services sector to identify and address significant societal and industry barriers,” said Gretchen O’Hara, vice president of AI and sustainability strategy, Microsoft U.S. “I am excited about the launch of our distinguished board, and the continued momentum to work with the members of this coalition to better serve the needs of our stakeholders and communities through AI innovation.”

The NCAI board, composed of volunteer senior executives acting as advisors to the council on behalf of their company or organization, will work to co-create AI solutions for positive societal and financial impact, identify and set the AI strategy and vision for a wide range of projects, and track AI adoption progress. Each member organization has nominated its own AI ambassadors to serve as regional leads and drive programs. All members have an equal voice in the way it operates and is governed.

The council intends to apply AI to resolve significant challenges in business such as:

  • General economic and industrial challenges – including research transfer, industry standards and funding instruments
  • Digital skills and employability – including organizational and cultural challenges, and labor policies
  • Data privacy – including data access and shared innovation

“Although there are many councils focusing on resolving technology challenges, I appreciate NCAI’s charter to figure out how AI can deliver deeper societal impact,” said Ed Fandrey, vice president of Financial Services, Microsoft U.S. “The NCAI coalition brings partners together across the industry to ensure AI and the technologies underpinning it are transparent and safe for not only financial services customers but throughout the regulated industry.”

Overall, the objective of the collaboration is to accelerate AI innovation and adoption by:

  • Lowering the risk of AI adoption and bias
  • Lowering the barrier of entry to innovate
  • Defining the educational journey for the AI talent of the future and equipping workers facing AI displacement with the right skills to maintain career momentum
  • Serving as an advisor of vision, information and multidisciplinary partnership with a focus on AI policy

To achieve these goals, the NCAI will deliver a robust curriculum for AI education and skilling, and will engage with the community through research white papers, new tools and programs, hosted events, and social media outreach to make AI more applicable and impactful. The council also plans to host quarterly meetings and public events to transparently communicate the resolution and progress of key challenges through AI adoption.

Initial work from the council will focus on reskilling and upskilling of the current workforce and business leaders. More details about the coalition’s programs and its impacts will be available in early 2021.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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Perspectives from NCAI member organizations

“Mastercard has been pioneering the use of AI, applying it across our business to help keep the digital ecosystem safe for governments, banks, merchants and consumers,” said Rohit Chauhan, executive vice president, Artificial Intelligence, Mastercard. “It has enabled us to provide quicker, easier and safer ways to transact and interact. As AI’s role and influence continues to expand, partnership, knowledge-sharing and best practices are needed to help accelerate the adoption in a responsible, secure and human-centric manner. Our work with the council is just beginning and we’re eager to collaborate and innovate with this group of industry leaders.”

“At Nasdaq, we are leveraging AI to solve challenges for the capital markets and beyond, with an aim to make markets safer, smarter and stronger,” said Michael O’Rourke, senior vice president and head of Artificial Intelligence and Investment Intelligence Technology, Nasdaq and NCAI council member. “We enthusiastically support the formation of the NCAI to progress these values and to use AI for the greater good for the investing public in the U.S. and worldwide.”

“Brookings Institution aims to advance effective and inclusive governance of transformative new technologies,” said Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, director of the Center for Technology Innovation, the Brookings Institution. “While artificial intelligence is generating benefits, difficult questions surface in terms of bias and discrimination. I am excited to join the National Council for Artificial Intelligence together with Microsoft and the other member organizations to work together to drive major solutions and policies that govern innovation, and drive the advancement of digital equity and inclusion for historically disadvantaged populations.”

“SUNY’s inclusion in the National Council for Artificial Intelligence shows our system’s dedication to partnering with fellow institutions of higher education and industry leaders in artificial intelligence — a field that is ever-growing and in need of diverse perspectives to serve businesses and organizations throughout the country,” said Chris Ellis, deputy chief of staff, SUNY. “We are proud to be a member of the council and look forward to working with the other members to influence artificial intelligence innovation of tomorrow and shaping educational programs involving AI.”

“It is incumbent upon leaders from the public and private sectors to ensure that our shared values of accountability, transparency and civic-mindedness guide us as AI becomes more prevalent in our everyday lives,” said Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, chancellor, CUNY. “AI promises many hopeful rewards, but it also presents a host of new and ever-evolving challenges. One thing is certain: CUNY is committed to educating and training students, as well as upskilling displaced workers for the ever-shifting 21st century labor market. We thank our partners in the National Council for Artificial Intelligence for the opportunity to ensure that the future remains bright and promising for all.”

“We are thrilled to participate on this board and have ambition to form an AI-focused innovation platform and accelerator,” said Michael Olmstead, chief revenue officer, Plug and Play. “With participation from the fellow board members, we will use this platform as a potential investment vehicle and sandbox to test different policies and ideas this group is looking to create.”

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