The Lead

Gov. Shapiro creates AI governing board to help steer the state’s use of generative artificial intelligence

By: - September 20, 2023 9:30 pm

Gov.Josh Shapiro speaks at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on the state’s plans to use and harness artificial intelligence. (Commonwealth Media Services)

Gov. Josh Shapiro on Wednesday signed an executive order to create a AI governing board for Pennsylvania that will guide the commonwealth’s use of generative artificial intelligence, including developing training programs for state employees.

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

The order establishes a set of “core values” including privacy, safety, fairness, accuracy, and employee empowerment. It will be made up of “senior administration officials and experts in the field,” and begin meeting next week, the governor said. 

Shapiro signed the order at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, which will work with the AI governing board to guide the state’s use of the technology.

“Artificial intelligence is rapidly transforming nearly every sector of our economy,” CMU President Farnam Jahanian said at the event. “I’m grateful to have a leader in Harrisburg that recognizes the potential and the urgency of this moment.”

Shapiro and other state officials at the announcement stressed that the state’s use of AI won’t replace human workers. 

“If we take the course that other states and countries have taken to completely ban AI for government purposes. we’re going to seriously lose out on the opportunity presented to us to improve government services for Pennsylvanians,” Shapiro said. “At the same time, know that AI will never replace the ingenuity, the creativity, and the lived experience of our outstanding workforce in the commonwealth. A tool, no matter how sophisticated, accomplishes nothing without a hand to wield it.”

As part of the executive order, the Shapiro administration will create a two-year fellowship program for post-bachelor, masters’ and doctoral candidates who will work on AI issues with state agencies. 

Shapiro said Pennsylvania public safety agencies are working with AI experts to address the threats AI poses, and his administration is “taking a multi-agency approach” in protecting Pennsylvania consumers from potential AI security threats, such as fraud.

“This executive order is the product of months of careful consideration and planning around AI with a belief that we need to embrace AI, not fear it, but we need to deploy it responsibly,” he said.


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Kim Lyons
Kim Lyons

Kim Lyons is a veteran western Pennsylvania journalist who has covered people and trends in politics and business for local and national publications. Follow her on Threads @social_kimly