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Massachusetts Establishes AI Task Force by Executive Order

This week, Gov. Maura Healey signed an executive order to establish the Artificial Intelligence Strategic Task Force in order to better understand the potential impacts of AI and GenAI.

An aerial view of the Massachusetts state Capitol building in Boston.
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey this week signed an executive order establishing the Artificial Intelligence Strategic Task Force.

State governments are increasingly focusing on AI, and in doing so, many are charting their own regulatory paths. States, like Alabama and Connecticut, have established similar task forces to address the rise of GenAI tools.

Massachusetts' task force was created through EO 629 to study AI and GenAI technologies. The goal is to better understand the potential impact of these tools on state government, the private sector, higher education and individuals. By conducting outreach and collecting input from a variety of stakeholders, the task force will be able to advise the governor and executive branch on how the state and other industries can effectively — and safely — implement the technology.

Notably, the task force delivers on a state commitment from the administration’s economic development plan.

“Our goal is not only to propel the growth of AI, but to employ it to stimulate job creation, elevate our state’s economy and lengthen our lead in key sectors,” said Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao in the announcement.

The task force is made up of 26 individuals that represent the public, private and education sectors. It will be co-chaired by the secretaries of the Executive Office of Economic Development and the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) to represent state government. From the academic sector and local government level, Mike Milligan of the UMass system and Boston CIO Santiago Garces will serve as co-chairs.

Subject-specific working groups will help the task force create informed recommendations on how to leverage AI in sectors including education, health care, life sciences, robotics and financial services.

State CIO Jason Snyder said in the announcement that the executive order “recognizes the urgent need for the state to engage with AI now,” and with a focus on cross-sector collaboration.

The order calls for the task force to immediately take effect. It will present its recommendations to the governor later this year and will continue until 30 days after the delivery of its written report to the governor.

In addition, Healey will seek $100 million through economic development legislation to create an Applied AI Hub in the state. Through this funding, a capital grant program will support the adoption of AI to solve public-policy problems. The capital fund would also help position the state to act on the priorities established by the task force.

Finally, the announcement highlights a partnership between EOTSS and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance for InnovateMA, which is a collaboration between the administration and higher education institutions to better leverage AI. InnovateMA began work in mid-January and the pilot will end in July.

“Massachusetts has the opportunity to be a global leader in applied AI — but it’s going to take us bringing together the brightest minds in tech, business, education, health care and government,” said Healey in the announcement.