California Leads the Way to a Creative, Ethical Future with AI

In a significant move to position California at the forefront of technological innovation, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on September 6, 2023, aimed at preparing the state for the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI). The order highlights the state’s commitment to harnessing AI’s potential while ensuring responsible and ethical development.

California: The World Leader in GenAI Innovation

“Focused on shaping the future of ethical, transparent, and trustworthy AI. Doing what California always does—leading the world in technological progress.”

—Gavin Newsom, Governor of California

Artificial intelligence has rapidly evolved, transforming industries and revolutionizing the way we live and work. With 35 of the world’s top AI companies, California has gained leadership in generative AI (GenAI) innovation and is home to state-of-the-art research institutions, providing great opportunities for probing and govt. collaborations. Thus the purpose of this executive order is to make the most of the boons of AI for the betterment of society while ensuring ethical standards and safeguards are in place.

Governor Newsom further unveiled in a statement, “This is a potentially transformative technology—comparable to the advent of the internet—and we’re only scratching the surface of understanding what GenAI is capable of. We recognize both the potential benefits and risks these tools enable. We’re neither frozen by the fears nor hypnotized by the upside. We’re taking a clear-eyed, humble approach to this world-changing technology. Asking questions. Seeking answers from experts.”

Shaping the Future of “Trustworthy AI”

The key tenets of Newsom’s generative AI guidelines are grounded on emphasizing the ethical development and deployment of GenAI to warrant that it respects human values, safeguards privacy, avoids discriminatory practices, and promotes transparency while the Golden State remains its position as the world leader in the field.

The provisions that the executive order lays out includes performing risk analysis of potential threats, examining the most significant and beneficial uses of GenAI in the state, developing guidelines for agencies and departments to analyze the impact that adopting GenAI tools may have on vulnerable communities, providing trainings for state government workers to use state-approved GenAI, establishing policy recommendations, running periodical evaluations to measure the potential impact of GenAI on regulatory issues, etc.

The provisions also mention, “State agencies and departments will consider procurement and enterprise use opportunities where GenAI can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, accessibility, and equity of government operations.” Plus, the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University, and the state will form a formal partnership and host a joint summit in 2024 to discuss GenAI impacts on California and its workforce.

What’s Next?

“By July 2024, all state agencies under my authority shall consider pilot projects of GenAI applications, in consultation with the state workforce or organizations that represent state government employees, and experts as appropriate from civil society, academia, and industry. Under a controlled setting, pilots shall measure 1) how GenAI can improve Californians’ experience with and access to government services, and 2) how GenAI can support state employees in the performance of their duties in addition to any domain-specific impacts to be measured by the agency.”

—Executive Order N-12-23, Executive Department, State of California

The collaboration between government agencies, AI researchers, industry leaders, and community stakeholders will be fostering an inclusive and responsible AI ecosystem in California.

As AI continues to reshape the world, California’s proactive stance exemplifies the importance of thoughtful policy-making to ensure that AI benefits all of society. The Golden State is gearing up for an AI-powered future, setting a standard for the rest of the nation to follow..

For more information and details on the executive order, please visit the official California government website.

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