Artificial intelligence assurance: Ensuring trust in AI systems

Artificial intelligence assurance: Ensuring trust in AI systems

AI assurance encompasses a range of activities and methodologies aimed at verifying that AI systems operate as intended, are compliant with regulations, and are free from biases and errors that could lead to unfair or unsafe outcomes. And with the increasing integration of AI across various sectors—from healthcare to finance to government—the need for robust assurance mechanisms has never been more crucial.

The concept of assurance is not new. It has its roots in fields such as accounting and cybersecurity, ensuring that systems and processes are reliable and meet rigorous standards. In the context of AI, assurance involves providing stakeholders—developers, regulators, and users—with confidence that AI systems are safe, fair, and accountable.

Defining AI assurance

While the concept is still evolving, AI assurance involves various governance mechanisms to develop trust in the compliance and risk management of AI systems. It includes tools and services necessary to provide trustworthy information about an AI system’s performance on issues such as fairness, safety, and reliability. Note that the current purported definition is heavily derived from the US’ National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) AI Risk Management Framework (RMF) in addition to the concepts laid out in the US AI EO and the EU AI Act.

As best practices and the greater AI ecosystem matures within agencies and organizations, AI assurance should cover the entire lifecycle of an AI system, from development to deployment and beyond. This includes regular audits, certification processes, and continuous monitoring to ensure the AI systems remain compliant and trustworthy throughout their operational life. As AI systems become more prevalent, the assurance processes will need to evolve to address their unique challenges (such as algorithmic biases and the need for explainability).

The need for effective AI assurance

As AI continues to transform society, the need for effective, measured safeguards are vital to both building public trust and ensuring the systems themselves behave in expected ways. For example, AI systems can amplify biases present in training data, leading to unfair treatment of individuals or groups. They can also behave unpredictably in ways that are difficult to diagnose and correct. They can simply drift over time, becoming less accurate. Effective AI assurance is necessary to mitigate these risks and ensure that AI systems deliver their benefits without causing harm.

According to the United Kingdom’s Responsible Technology Adoption Unit, effective AI assurance requires a mature ecosystem of assurance products and services, including process and technical standards, repeatable audits, certification schemes, and advisory and training services. While United States’ NIST RMF addresses AI assurance from a risk management perspective, the ecosystem and practical application of this is still very much evolving and there is a need for better coordination among various stakeholders to address the fragmentation and confusion that currently exist in the field.

Challenges in AI assurance

At the time of this document’s publishing (June 2024) the biggest identified challenge is the evolving nature of AI assurance and the lack of standardized practices and guidelines.

This white paper considers AI assurance and the efforts global governments have taken to form initial policies to regulate government agencies and private industry. However, these initial policies do not take into account varying private sector best practices given the demands of their varying missions and regulatory requirements imposed by sector.

While more prevalent in regulated industries- An example of this is the banking & financial industry and model risk management frameworks that have derived from OCC Guidelines. But different sectors may have varying requirements and expectations for AI systems which makes it difficult to establish a one-size-fits-all approach to assurance. Moreover, AI systems are inherently complex and often operate in a “black box” manner, making it challenging to understand their decision-making processes and identify potential issues.

Another issue is the dynamic nature of AI systems. Unlike traditional software, AI systems can change their behavior over time as they learn from new data. This requires continuous monitoring and updating of assurance practices to ensure that the systems remain compliant and trustworthy.

Approaches to AI assurance

Several approaches can be employed to achieve effective AI assurance. These include:

  1. Auditing: Regular audits can help ensure that AI systems comply with relevant standards and regulations. Audits can be business and compliance-oriented, focusing on the accuracy and integrity of AI systems, or focus on bias, which test the functionality of systems to identify and mitigate biases, among others.
  2. Certification: Independent certification processes can verify AI systems meet specific standards of quality and performance. This provides an additional layer of trust for users and regulators.
  3. Impact assessments: These are used to anticipate the effects of AI systems in various ways, such as how they negatively or positively affect end-users or how underlying data is protected. Impact assessments can help identify potential risks and areas for improvement early in the development process.
  4. Continuous monitoring: Ongoing monitoring of AI systems can help detect and address issues in real-time, ensuring that the systems remain compliant and trustworthy throughout their operational life.

The role of Weights & Biases in AI assurance

Weights & Biases (W&B) is a leading MLOps and LLMops platform to train and fine-tune models, manage models from experimentation to production, and provides an AI system of record for the public sector. Weights & Biases can play a central role to help organizations achieve effective AI assurance with a suite of tools for tracking, visualizing, and optimizing machine learning models, ensuring that AI systems are developed and deployed responsibly.

How Weights & Biases supports AI assurance

Weights & Biases offers several features that are crucial for AI assurance:

  1. Experiment tracking: Weights & Biases allows organizations to track every detail of their machine learning experiments, from hyperparameters and code to model weights and dataset versions. This level of transparency is essential for ensuring that AI systems are auditable and reproducible.
  2. Registry: The platform includes a centralized registry that enables organizations to manage production models, datasets, and other important artifacts centrally. This helps in maintaining a single source of truth for all models, making it easier to track changes and ensure compliance.
  3. Hyperparameter tuning and optimization: Weights & Biases’s Sweeps feature automates hyperparameter tuning and model optimization, ensuring that AI models are fine-tuned for performance and reliability.
  4. Data and model versioning: With W&B’s Artifacts feature, organizations can version assets and track their lineage, ensuring that all data and models are traceable and auditable. This is crucial for compliance and governance purposes.
  5. Reporting and collaboration: Weights & Biases provides robust reporting and collaboration tools that enable teams to document their findings, share insights, and collaborate effectively. This enhances transparency and accountability across the organization.
  6. Compliance and governance: W&B supports compliance with various regulatory requirements by providing detailed records of all activities related to model development and deployment. This helps organizations demonstrate compliance and build trust with regulators and stakeholders.

Benefits of using Weights & Biases for AI assurance

Using W&B for AI assurance offers several benefits:

  1. Enhanced transparency and explainability: W&B’s tools provide continuous insights into model behavior, helping teams understand and explain how their models work. This is essential for building trust with users and regulators.
  2. Improved collaboration and productivity: W&B’s centralized platform enhances collaboration among team members, making it easier to share data, models, and insights. This improves productivity and accelerates the development process.
  3. Robust governance and compliance: W&B provides comprehensive governance features that ensure all AI activities are documented and compliant with relevant standards. This reduces the risk of non-compliance and helps organizations meet regulatory requirements.
  4. Reduced bias and fairness: W&B’s tools for exploring data and monitoring model behavior help identify and mitigate biases, ensuring that AI systems are fair.
  5. Scalability and flexibility: W&B is designed to scale with the needs of the organization, providing flexible deployment options and integrations with popular machine learning frameworks. This ensures that the platform can support a wide range of use cases and workflows.

Real-world examples: Implementing AI assurance with Weights & Biases

Weights & Biases has been on the forefront of AI development, trusted by leading foundational modeling and AI research private sector organizations including OpenAI, Microsoft, Cohere, and an ever-growing number of private and public sector organizations, including the US Department of Defense (W&B has IL5 certification) and US National Labs, and United Kingdom Government. Weights & Biases provides a proven, scalable, and secure platform to track and optimize these customers’ AI models, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and improving the transparency of their AI systems.


The practice of AI assurance will be a critical aspect of responsible AI development and deployment. As regulations evolve and AI systems become integrated to government agencies and the private sector, the need for proven platforms will continue to grow.

Weights & Biases provides a comprehensive platform that supports AI assurance by offering tools for tracking, visualizing, and optimizing machine learning models. By leveraging W&B, organizations can ensure that their AI systems are transparent, fair, and compliant with regulatory standards, ultimately building trust with users and stakeholders.

The journey towards effective AI assurance is ongoing, and platforms like Weights & Biases are vital for building a more trustworthy and reliable AI ecosystem. As the field continues to grow, it will be essential for organizations to adopt best practices and leverage advanced tools to achieve and maintain high standards of AI assurance.

About the author

Mark Kroto is the Head of Federal for Weights & Biases. With over a decade of experience with AI & data experience, Mark is passionate about helping clients leverage AI and MLOps to solve the complex problems of government that benefit mission and programs in agencies and industry alike. You can email him at