By Keri Forsythe-Stephens
As an “older” millennial, I’ve experienced an interesting dichotomy: an analog childhood and a digital adulthood. I fully remember the days of rotary phones (My 5-year-old daughter, on the other hand, has never seen a phone with cords) and proudly had a box TV in my bedroom (no cable, of course.)

Keri Forsythe-Stephens, Chief Editor

Keri Forsythe-Stephens, Chief Editor

But I’ve tried to embrace technology as it advances—albeit at a much slower pace than my “younger” millennial peers. That’s not to say that certain technologies don’t intimidate—okay, scare—me. Topping that list? Artificial intelligence. Every time I hear about a new application of AI, I can’t help but wonder if computers will one day replace me. Will they even need editors anymore, or will an AI-based application, such as Grammerly, make my role redundant?

From an HTM perspective, the implications of AI are also tremendous. In August’s Soapbox column, editorial board member Jeff Ruiz encouraged readers to embrace—not resist—technological change, positing: “Will AI take over AEM programs and preemptively predict when critical failures will occur?” I’ve wondered the same.

With the rise of AI, however, comes a host of safety implications. After all, can machines truly do what humans do—safely?

To address this issue, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a plan for prioritizing federal engagement in AI standards development—a move that comes six months after an Executive Order mandated that it do so. According to NIST, the plan recommends the federal government bolster AI standards-related knowledge, leadership, and coordination among agencies that develop or use AI; promote focused research on the trustworthiness of AI systems; support and expand public-private partnerships; and engage with international parties.

The plan also highlights tools that will be needed to support AI—“including benchmarks, evaluations, and challenges that could drive creative problem-solving,” NIST officials say.

“AI is already transforming so many aspects of our lives and has the potential to do much more,” adds Walter G. Copan, under-secretary of commerce for standards and technology and director of the NIST. “The federal government has an important role to play, in partnership with industry and academia, to ensure that the U.S. maintains its leadership in AI. We want to make the most of this technology, while ensuring safety, privacy, and security.”

So how do you think AI will revolutionize U.S. industries—and the HTM sector, in particular? Are my fears about one day being replaced by a computer unfounded? Drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know.