January 24, 2020
Staff Accomplishment

Nicole Nichols Speaks at AI Summit

More than 200 leaders from across Washington State attended conference

Nicole Nichols answers questions during panel at the AI: Policy Matters Summit.

Nicole Nichols answers questions during panel at the AI: Policy Matters Summit.

Nicole Nichols, a senior researcher at PNNL, spoke during the AI: Policy Matters Summit in Seattle, Washington on December 12. The summit, hosted by TechAlliance, brought together more than 200 leaders from private and public entities across Washington State to discuss how the state can continue to be a leader in AI and strengthen its innovation economy.

Nichols was featured as a panelist during the “Into the Weeds” session with Shelly Kurtz of Giving Tech Labs and Osonde Osoba of Rand Corporation. They discussed topics such as how diversity and inclusion, in both education and the workforce, will be critical to the future of AI. Nichols suggested leaders remember that not all technical jobs require a PhD, and that there are many different roles across the industry which create a diverse workforce.

When thinking about regulations for AI policy, the panel said there were three elements to consider: data, models, and applications. Nichols used an example of car insurance and how the traditional data and models to evaluate insurance rates have shifted from zip code and car model to dynamic information about driving habits using onboard sensor data.

At PNNL, Nichols is in the National Security Directorate and leads the technical teams investigating the application of deep learning to cybersecurity and the security of machine learning.