NASA appoints first director of the Artificial Intelligence department – Code San Luis

The US Space Agency (NASA) has taken a significant step into the future by appointing David Salvagnini as its first Director of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a move aimed at aligning the strategic vision and planning for the use of this pioneering technology.

The announcement comes in response to an executive order issued by the President of the United States, Joe Biden, which calls on all federal agencies to create this key position within the framework of the development and safe use of AI.

In a statement, NASA highlighted the significance of artificial intelligence, calling it “the most transcendental technology” in recent history. The importance of monitoring its development and application in all sectors of society was stressed.

David Salvagnini, NASA’s current Chief Data Officer since joining in 2023, assumes this new role with extensive experience in technology leadership, including more than 20 years in the US Air Force.

NASA has been using AI tools for decades to power space missions, analyze data, and develop autonomous systems to support aeronautics. Salvagnini’s appointment reflects the agency’s commitment to innovation and responsible advancement.

The statement also highlights NASA’s continued collaboration with other government agencies, experts, industrial partners, and academic institutions to leverage AI to benefit its goals and missions.

Possible uses of AI mentioned include programming communications for the Mars rover ‘Perseverance’ and searching for data on planets outside the solar system.

Until Salvagnini’s official appointment, Kate Calvin, NASA’s acting chief scientist and senior climate advisor, served as the agency’s interim head of AI. This appointment marks an important milestone in NASA’s technological evolution and its role at the forefront of space exploration and scientific innovation.

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