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Dr. Ted Kaouk Named as the CFTC’s Inaugural Chief AI Officer



The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the regulatory authority overseeing the derivatives markets in the United States, has recently taken a significant step towards embracing the future of technology. In a groundbreaking move, the CFTC has appointed Dr. Ted Kaouk as its first Chief Artificial Intelligence (AI) Officer. Dr. Kaouk, who is currently serving as the Chief Data Officer and Director of the Division of Data at the CFTC, will expand his responsibilities to include the oversight and implementation of the commission’s overarching strategy for data and artificial intelligence. This initiative marks a substantial advancement in the regulatory body’s efforts to enhance its regulatory oversight, surveillance, and enforcement capabilities across the derivatives market sectors it governs.

The integration of AI into the CFTC’s operations is not merely a step towards modernization; it aims at a fundamental evolution in how the agency harnesses technology for more effective market oversight. Under the guidance of Chairman Rostin Behnam, the CFTC is set to deepen its engagement with advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence technologies. Behnam has expressed confidence in Dr. Kaouk’s profound technical knowledge and proven leadership, viewing them as crucial assets in advancing the commission’s strategic initiatives. By leveraging AI, the CFTC aspires not only to enhance its regulatory frameworks but also to foster a culture that prioritizes data utilization and innovation within the realm of financial market regulations.

Dr. Ted Kaouk’s journey to this pioneering role is underscored by an extensive background in data strategy and management across various governmental bodies. Prior to his tenure at the CFTC, he made significant contributions as the Chief Data Officer at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), where he was instrumental in crafting the first government-wide human capital data strategy. His achievements include establishing the first enterprise data analytics and AI platform at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Kaouk also led the Federal Chief Data Officers Council as its inaugural chair from its inception in 2020 until January 2024, highlighting his leadership in the federal data strategy sector.

His academic credentials are equally impressive, beginning with his service as a surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy, followed by obtaining an undergraduate degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and furthering his education with a master’s degree from the University of Virginia. Dr. Kaouk also holds a PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park, adding a substantial academic foundation to his practical experience.

The announcement of Dr. Kaouk’s new role coincided with the reveal of the agenda for the upcoming AI Day by the Commission’s Technology Advisory Committee (TAC), chaired by Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero. The event, set to take place at the CFTC’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, aims to rigorously explore the controlled introduction of AI within regulated financial services. With contributions from AI experts spanning government regulators to the private sector, the sessions will delve into critical discussions encompassing market automation, risk management frameworks, and cybersecurity in the financial sector, facilitated by experts like Sunayna Tuteja, the Chief Innovation Officer of the Federal Reserve Board.

Echoing the spirit of innovation, the AI Day event extends an invitation to the public for participation, either in person or through a live webcast, signaling the TAC’s ongoing commitment to fostering informed discourse on the intersection of technology, policy, and law. This open approach underscores the agency’s recognition of the transformative potential of AI in reshaping financial market regulations, aiming to strike a balance between innovation and risk management.

As the CFTC embarks on this ambitious journey towards incorporating AI into its regulatory framework, the appointment of Dr. Kaouk as the first Chief AI Officer stands as a testament to the agency’s forward-thinking strategy. It also underscores the broader trend within the financial regulatory landscape towards adopting cutting-edge technologies to better serve and protect the markets and investors in an increasingly digital and interconnected world.

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