Update on technical standards investments at Oracle: Oracle joins the NIST AI Safety Consortium

May 13, 2024 | 5 minute read
Luke Kowalski
Senior vice president, corporate architecture group, Oracle
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Oracle’s beginnings in the 1970s are intertwined with the emergence of many technical standards. These specifications, guidelines, and rules have for a long time ensured that software and hardware are interoperable, even if they come from different vendors. Customers benefit, because they’re not locked in, and their legacy systems can interoperate with the latest and greatest technology, resulting in a lower total cost of ownership. One of those critical earlier standards was SQL. It was invented in the 1970s and it became an American Standards Institute Standards Institute (ANSI) standard in 1986. ­­­­

Today, we’re proud to announce that Oracle has joined an effort that is working on the development of emerging standards.

Why Oracle supports technological transformations

Oracle is collaborating with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute Consortium to establish a new measurement science that will enable the identification of proven, scalable, and interoperable measurements and methodologies to promote development of trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its responsible use. NIST does not evaluate commercial products under this Consortium and does not endorse any product or service used. Additional information on this Consortium can be found at: https://www.nist.gov/artificial-intelligence-safety-institute

Several misconceptions about when or why Oracle has joined or supports the latest technological transformations exist. Timothy Chou, previously at Oracle and now at Stanford University, delivered a lecture where he presented about the benefits of browser-hosted applications to our user experience group. It was the cloud, albeit a 1999-2000 version. The Oracle E-business Suite was hosted, the user interfaces were served up in the browser, and bug fixes and new features were a lot more frequent than with traditional on-premises software. The elastic sizing, subscription metering, and other aspects of the cloud weren’t in place yet, but it was the early days.

We can say the same about AI. We have had business intelligence in database, middleware, and apps for quite a while. We designed inline and contextual help in the early e-commerce GUIs and chatbots, but also smart installers and predictive and proactive security in software and hardware. The latest inventions, implementations, and standards around machine learning (ML) and AI can’t be ignored.

We’re particularly excited about the potential and existing product implementations of AI in enterprise products. Just like the cloud, Oracle has had AI embedded in its applications for a while. While the large language models (LLMs) trained on the wisdom of the internet are transformational, the real power of AI comes from combining facts from the system of record with the language understanding and reasoning of the LLM to deliver grounded intelligent applications. The potential to apply these models in the supply chain, finance, customer experience, and healthcare informatics can bring unprecedented levels of insight and result in profound societal impacts. We’re excited to work with our peers, customers, and end users on the technology, interoperability, and the governance of AI and related standards.

Oracle provides domain expertise for applications of artificial intelligence in the enterprise. Employing top domain experts, we’re uniquely positioned in the industry to share best practices, training, and resources at all layers of the tech stack. Oracle embeds AI in software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, AppDev Platform and Services, Data Analytics, and the infrastructure cloud layers.

We contribute many of the building blocks to numerous open source projects, so that the ecosystem can use our contributions, documentation, and reference architectures. We offer tools, including our low-code APEX application platform, free trials in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), and time in our usability labs to better understand real world applications of AI models, RAG, agents, and human interfaces. Because the world’s most critical ­systems already run Oracle and because of our unique partnerships in the AI space, we’re uniquely qualified to navigate the interaction between security, privacy, governance, and the business benefits of this transformative technology. Analysts agree, as mentioned in a new research note from the Futurum Group.

AI standards at Oracle

Oracle participates in the development of several other AI standards as well. The projects in these standards bodies address a variety of aspects of AI systems: Bias and fairness, human oversight, explainability and transparency, risk management, privacy, and security. The following standards advance technical harmonization and support market access:

  • ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 42: This joint body falls under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) established AI standardization.
  • CEN/CENELEC JTC 21: This joint body falls under the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). Joint Technical Committee 21 develops and adopts standards for AI and related data. This body has also been tasked with establishing harmonized standards (European Norms) for the AI Act.
  • ETSI ISG SAI: The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) established an Industry Specifications Group on Securing Artificial Intelligence (ISG SAI). This group addresses security of AI and the use of AI to support security.

We engage in the following AI activities:

  • NIST, under the US Department of Commerce
    • The Trustworthy & Responsible Artificial Intelligence Resource Center (AIRC), which includes supporting the NIST AI Risk Management Framework (AI RMF) and Playbook as well as other resources that cover topics, such as bias and fairness and explainability.
    • The Generative AI Public Working Group
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), including the Working Party on Artificial Intelligence Governance (AIGO).
  • The EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC), including Working Group 1 on Technology Standards and its AI subgroup as well as the Joint Roadmap on Trustworthy AI and Risk Management

Conclusion

Oracle is committed to building standards-based products to reduce complexity and help customers get the most out of their technology investments. Oracle participates actively in more than 100 standards-setting organizations and more than 300 technical committees, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). 

We build products based on globally recognized standards and consume, contribute to, and manage open source to provide our customers with interoperability, choice, and lower costs. For more about Oracle’s global standards engagements, see Standards at Oracle.

For more information, see the following resources:

Luke Kowalski

Senior vice president, corporate architecture group, Oracle

Luke Kowalski is an SVP in the Corporate Architecture Group. He is recognized for his loyalty and pragmatism, but he also excels in his ability to work across disciplines. He has executed projects involving legal issues (antitrust, IP, audits, litigation), acquisitions (due diligence, integration, or divestitures), technical standards (document formats), government affairs (EU/USA trade, IP reform, repatriation), and even managed functions like physical security, user interface design and accessibility.


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