NASA Appoints Agency’s First AI Officer

David Salvagnini named chief data officer, charged with shaping the space agency’s responsible AI efforts

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

May 15, 2024

1 Min Read
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

NASA has appointed its first-ever chief AI officer.

David Salvagnini has been appointed to the new role, expanding his current position as the space agency’s chief data officer.

Salvagnini is tasked with helping shape NASA’s responsible AI efforts, supporting the development of risk management tools and related training.

“AI has been safely used at NASA for decades and as this technology expands, it can accelerate the pace of discovery,” said Bill Nelson, NASA administrator. “It’s important that we remain at the forefront of advancement and responsible use. In this new role, Salvagnini will lead NASA’s efforts to guide our agency’s responsible use of AI in the cosmos and on Earth to benefit all humanity.”

Salvagnini joined NASA in June of 2023. He previously served as the chief enterprise architect in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

He also spent a decade in the Department of Defense, where he was the technical director in the chief information office.

Salvagnini’s appointment follows President Biden’s AI Executive Order, requiring government agencies to have an official to oversee their responsible use of AI.

Before Salvagnini’s appointment, NASA’s chief scientist Kate Calvin served as the acting responsible AI official.

Related:NASA Scientist Evokes Star Trek Diversity to Enable Interplanetary Travel

NASA is using a variety of AI tools and technologies, including generative systems to aid in designing materials for future spacecraft.

The space agency is also working with IBM to apply AI models to obtain insights from Earth data gathered from satellites.

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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