Pennsylvania’s state government, under the leadership of Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro, is gearing up to embrace artificial intelligence (AI) in its operations. In a news conference held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Shapiro outlined the state’s plan to harness the power of AI while addressing the need for regulations and governance.

The key initiatives include the establishment of an AI governing board, the publication of guiding principles for AI use, and the development of training programs aimed at educating state employees about AI. Governor Shapiro stressed the importance of ensuring that the state government understands AI, adapts to it, and promotes its safe usage in the private sector.

“We don’t want to let AI happen to us; we want to be part of helping develop AI for the betterment of our citizens,” Shapiro affirmed.

To kickstart these efforts, the Pennsylvania administration intends to launch a two-year fellowship program to recruit AI experts who will collaborate with various state agencies to integrate AI into their operations. Public safety agencies have already started seeking counsel from AI experts to prepare for potential AI-driven threats, such as fraud.

The newly formed governing board, composed of senior administration officials, will oversee the development, procurement, and utilization of AI, with guidance from faculty at Carnegie Mellon University.

Across the United States, AI is becoming an increasingly important area of concern for state policymakers. Several states, including Wisconsin, Texas, Louisiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia, have initiated studies to assess the impact of AI. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order to investigate the development, use, and risks associated with AI. Additionally, lawmakers in approximately 25 states have introduced bills addressing AI-related issues, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

In Pennsylvania, lawmakers have introduced several bills focused on AI. One bill seeks to enable caseworkers to utilize AI to assess eligibility for government programs and detect fraudulent activities. Another bill aims to create a registry of companies that develop software containing algorithmic logic for automated calls, voice prompts, or text prompts online. These legislative efforts reflect the state’s commitment to harnessing AI’s potential while ensuring ethical and responsible use.

By Impact Lab