A packed room of attendees took part in a series of high-energy, interactive panel discussions with experts on blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) at the recent American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Joint Member Forum held in Washington, DC, during World Standards Week (WSW). Special guest and keynote speaker Representative James Grant (pictured) of the Florida House of Representatives set the dynamic tone of the day with a spirited, candid, and vastly informative speech touching on everything from his efforts to drive smart, transformative technology changes in state government to the importance of standards in emerging IT areas to his insights on bringing together the cross-sector and bipartisan stakeholders needed to advance common societal goals.
ANSI president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia provided an introduction to the importance of collaborative standardization work to advance transformative technologies like blockchain and AI, and he encouraged all to actively participate in the day's discussions and share the unique insights of the standards and conformance communities. Representing dozens of ANSI members, companies, standards developing organizations (SDOs), government agencies, associations, and other groups, attendees were enthusiastic participants in a series of expert-led discussions of these transformative technologies and of standardization's keen potential in helping to drive impactful implementation.
In his dynamic keynote address, Rep. Grant, a great supporter of the voluntary standardization community and of flexible, collaborative approaches to tackling priorities, emphasized how Florida's government has opportunities to adopt transformative technologies and significantly improve the lives of its citizens. An innovator and strategist who has been a champion of ensuring that data interoperability and technology align with the interests of various stakeholders, particularly in the healthcare industry, Rep. Grant provided concrete examples of how public-private partnerships that leverage transformative technologies like AI and blockchain should be fundamental tools for improving outcomes in government.
Following the keynote, Claire Ramspeck, managing director of standards development at ASME and chair of the ANSI Organizational Member Forum, moderated an inspiring discussion on "How Blockchain Is Transforming the Supply Chain." The panel of experts from diverse sectors comprised:
Ms. Mueller noted how corporate investment in and collaborative use of blockchain can connect trusted service providers and significantly strengthen supply chain security across the world. And Dr. Holzworth discussed how blockchain is transforming data security in military and government operations - like procurement, for example, where its use in tandem with additive manufacturing (3D printing) is enabling soldiers on the front lines to print critical replacement equipment parts securely and efficiently, when and where they're needed.
Attendees posed nuanced questions about how they might best leverage blockchain technology in their own organizations, and panelists generously shared their expertise via clear and careful explanation and examples of the technology, clearing up misinformation and expanding the entire group's knowledge and understanding. In a simplified definition, blockchain is a digital ledger comprising blocks of unalterable data structured as transparent, verifiable transaction chains within a trusted community.
The morning session set the stage for even deeper insights into standards and conformity assessment for transformative technologies during the afternoon panel discussion on "Applications of Artificial Intelligence." Moderator Jim Matthews, director of technical standards and standards policy at Corning Inc. and chair of ANSI's Company Member Forum, led a dynamic discussion with the following panel of experts:
Robust, enlightening discussions with great audience engagement focused on how AI is impacting every single sector, and can be used to drive a better world by augmenting worker competencies rather than replacing human capabilities. In the healthcare industry, for example, AI is increasingly used as a diagnostic tool for breakthroughs in tumor detection, among other advancements. Other real-word examples mentioned included agricultural robotics, speech interfaces, and, in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), satellite and image recognition.
Mr. Romine noted that NIST is actively engaged with private-sector standardization organizations to support harmonized AI standards development. He highlighted NISTS's collaboration with the recently formed International Organization for Standardization / International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information Technology, Subcommittee (SC) 42 on Artificial Intelligence. ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 42 which is administered by ANSI and has tremendous capacity for impact in AI advancement and implementation globally (read more about JTC 1 SC 42).
Mr. Romine further emphasized that ANSI can provide coordination of SDOs and other stakeholders to convene broad expertise and reduce duplication of work, stressing that the U.S. must be aggressive in gaining leadership in the AI space to ensure the economy reaps the benefits of opportunities in AI. Public-private partnerships are imperative to support AI development, noted Mr. Hanna, who encouraged stakeholders to learn more about the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, which is launching the second version of Ethically Aligned Design, a crowd-sourced global treatise regarding the ethics of autonomous and intelligent systems.
For more information on the JMF sessions, see the presentations online, and visit ANSI's Flickr album to access event photos.
ANSI Annual Business Meeting Luncheon
The day-long JMF event also included ANSI's Annual Business Meeting luncheon, during which ANSI Board of Directors chair Russ Chaney and president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia provided an overview of the Institute's major accomplishments over the past year.
"I'm particularly proud of the cutting-edge, responsive coordination work we've been leading in emerging technology areas through our standardization collaboratives," Mr. Bhatia said, noting the most recent work in the area of unmanned aircraft systems. Providing a more detailed report of the Institute's accomplishments, ANSI staff distributed the 2017-2018 Annual Report, 100 Years: Standardization for a Better Tomorrowin honor of ANSI's 100 year anniversary.
For more information, read the related news item.