Gina Raimondo is the Steph Curry … of AI?

of bureaucratic pointillism, giving nearly all of the government’s 15 executive departments a variety of AI responsibilities and reports. It’s a paper that’s going to generate a lot more paper.But just because Biden assigned everyone some AI homework doesn’t mean the distribution of tasks is equal. That’s part of what makes this executive order so sneaky, and so promising.

I cannot overstate how much the AI community likes Raimondo. After speed-reading the executive order, a senior executive at a large AI company told me, “It looks like a team sport, but they’re really giving Steph Curry all the biggest shots.”The Commerce Department has never been sexy. Raimondo’s predecessor was Wilbur Ross. (Someone should wake him and let him know.) How the current secretary came to be compared to Stephen Curry is a classic tale of right nerd, right place, right time.

Raimondo grew up middle class in Rhode Island, where her father worked at the Bulova Watch Co. until it moved its assembly operations to China. She went to Harvard, was a Rhodes scholar, clerked for U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood and entered the Biden administration in 2021 after six years in the Rhode Island governor’s mansion. It’s the bio and pedigree of your normal high-achieving Democrat — except Raimondo also happens to be Mitt Romney. headtopics.com

It’s not just that she co-founded Rhode Island’s first venture capital firm or is married to a former McKinsey & Co. guy (who also worked as the chief people officer at an AI start-up). She vibes with CEOs in a way few Democratic politicians ever have. It’s no wonder Raimondo was Mike Bloomberg’s vice-presidential candidate of choice, though the cart got a little out in front of the horse on that one. “Gina listens,” Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, told me in August.

Phrases such as “engagement with industry” aren’t always popular with Democratic voters, but there doesn’t appear to be much resistance to Raimondo’s AI ascent. This phase of AI’s development — when the tech could add trillions of dollars to global gross domestic product … or possibly create an extinction event — is exactly when the government and industry need to be on the best possible terms. headtopics.com

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