And now, the Justice Department is the latest government agency to start its AI hiring surge, starting with its first chief AI officer: Jonathan Mayer, a lawyer, is an assistant professor at Princeton University in the department of computer science and School of Public and International Affairs.

The new role is intended to help the Justice Department “keep pace with rapidly evolving scientific and technological developments in order to fulfill our mission to uphold the rule of law, keep our country safe, and protect civil rights,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement released today.

Mayer will serve in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy as an adviser to Attorney General Garland and Justice Department leadership, offering his technical expertise on cybersecurity, AI, and more emerging technology. He also will advise the Department on technical talent recruitment efforts, which he previously helped with at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy.

On his website, Mayer says he also offers “informal advice” to graduate students interested in law and public policy.

Mayer is no stranger to the U.S. government’s approach to tech. He previously served as Vice President Kamala Harris’s technology advisor in 2017 and 2018, during her term as a U.S. senator of California. Before that, Mayer was chief technologist at the Federal Communications Commission Enforcement Bureau between 2015 and 2017.

For the past six years, Mayer has served as an assistant professor at Princeton teaching classes with titles such as “Technology Policy and Law” and “Computer Science for Public Policy and Law.” Mayer’s research spans similar topics, focusing particularly on areas including national security, criminal procedure, consumer privacy, and more. He’s also a frequent public speaker and, in the past two years, has given talks at institutions like ETH Zürich, NYU Law, BYU Law School, and Cornell University.

Mayer received a PhD in computer science from Stanford University and a JD from Stanford Law School. He grew up in Chicago, and had no prior coding experience before arriving at Princeton, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Mayer was once outspoken on Twitter (now known as X), sharing his own papers and related research on law and technology. He responded to technology news, too, particularly regarding the social media giants Twitter and Facebook, but his posting has slowed since 2022 and seems to have halted altogether since 2023.

Attorney General Garland said on his appointment: “Jonathan’s expertise will be invaluable in ensuring that the entire Justice Department—including our law enforcement components, litigating components, grant-making entities, and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices—is prepared for both the challenges and opportunities that new technologies present.”

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