Governor Signs Executive Directive on AI

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Governor Signs Executive Directive on AI 4Governor Glenn Youngkin announced today Executive Directive Number Five (2023) on Artificial Intelligence (AI), acknowledging the critical role state government must play in ensuring effective oversight of this novel technology. The widespread availability of artificial intelligence (AI) products will rapidly expand analytical power over the coming years, presenting opportunities and challenges to Virginia’s diverse labor, technology, and education ecosystems.

As home to the largest population of cybersecurity companies and personnel on the East Coast, colleges and universities that lead the nation in technology research and development, and the most critical national security and military intelligence institutions in the nation, Virginia’s exposure to AI impacts is unique. The Executive Order signed by Governor Youngkin combines strong protection for Virginian residents and businesses while recognizing opportunities presented by AI innovation.

“Virginia is a leader in technology and will stay a leader in technology. The increasing use of AI, especially generative AI, offers tremendous opportunities to transform the way we serve all Virginians, from launching innovative personalized education tools to improving customer service and beyond,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “At the same time, we must ensure that these AI products and technologies have appropriate standards and guardrails to protect individual privacy rights in a transparent manner. Our Executive Directive tackles both: seizing the opportunities AI presents while recognizing and mitigating the risks.”

“The Commonwealth is home to one of the most innovative workforces and some of the most critical national security institutions in our country. Together with our academic research institutions Virginia can lead the way in the transparent and innovative use of AI nationally,” said Director of the Office of Regulatory Management Andrew Wheeler.

The Executive Directive is being issued to ensure responsible, ethical, and transparent use of AI, which will cultivate targeted, innovative uses of this expanding technology in the Commonwealth. It focuses inquiry on four key areas to ensure proper use of AI by state government, including legal protections, policy standards, IT safeguards, and K-12 and higher education implications.

The first area of focus will include a review of the legal requirements, such as privacy or intellectual property, under Virginia law for the use of AI technologies. Second, identify the policy standards necessary for State agencies to effectively utilize AI. Third, identify the appropriate IT safeguards such as cybersecurity and firewalls, that are needed to alleviate security and privacy risks. Finally, determine the appropriate path to ensure our students are trained to compete using this technology, while also protecting against misuse in the classroom.

The Executive Directive calls for the Office of Regulatory Management (ORM) to work with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) to begin answering these four areas of focus. Additionally, this Executive Directive includes identification of pilot uses of AI by state agencies to see how the AI can help modernize state government, determination of how AI can be capitalized for economic growth, and an examination of the impact of AI on power generation requirements.

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