Business of Government Hour

Artificial intelligence and accountability: A conversation with Taka Ariga and Steve Sanford

Artificial Intelligence is widely used, but how do we know it's working appropriately? What prompted the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to develop an AI...

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The Business of Government Hour, hosted by Michael J. Keegan, features a conversation with government executives and thought leaders who are changing the way government does business. The show explores topics such as leadership, management, technology, innovation, public service, as well as the mission of government in the 21st century.


Artificial Intelligence is widely used, but how do we know it’s working appropriately? What prompted the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to develop an AI Accountability Framework? What are the core principles of this framework? Join host Michael J. Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Taka Ariga, Chief Data Scientist and Director of the Innovation Lab at GAO and Steve Sanford, Managing Director, Strategic Planning and External Liaison at GAO.



Taka Ariga is the first Chief Data Scientist appointed by the Comptroller General of the United States. He also leads GAO’s newly established Innovation Lab in driving problem-centric experiments across audit and operational teams through novel use of advanced analytics and emerging technologies. As a member of the Senior Executive Service, Taka is also responsible for working with GAO stakeholders to adopt prospective views on oversight impacts of emerging capabilities.


Stephen Sanford is the Managing Director in GAO’s Strategic Planning and External Liaison team. He helps GAO strategically plan for the future, lead external relations with domestic and international accountability partners, and drive agency-wide innovation and transformation. He also oversees the activities of the GAO Center for Audit Excellence and is Director of GAO’s Center for Strategic Foresight.

Stephen joined GAO in 2009. He has led efforts to develop 3 agency strategic plans, supported GAO’s bilateral and multilateral international relations with national governments and international organizations, and helped lead GAO’s first technology assessment on artificial intelligence. In recognition of his work, he has received a GAO Distinguished Service Award and a GAO Meritorious Service Award.

Prior to GAO, he advised executives on technology and business process improvement at multinational firms in London, Paris, and Brussels. He was also responsible for science and technology policy issues at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a master’s degree in business administration with distinction from INSEAD in France.

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