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New Jersey Establishes Artificial Intelligence Task Force

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Tuesday charging the task force with studying artificial intelligence and recommending government actions to support ethical use of the rapidly evolving technology.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy
(AP/Julio Cortez)
New Jersey is establishing a new Artificial Intelligence Task Force, aimed at studying the rapidly emerging technology and recommending ways that the state government can encourage ethical AI usage.

The task force is being formed after an executive order signed Tuesday by Gov. Phil Murphy, and it has a year to create a report assessing the potential societal impacts of AI and recommending ways government can encourage their “ethical and responsible use.” Murphy suggested AI can promote better government services and spur economic growth, but that care needs to be taken to ensure the tools don't tread on civil rights or introduce undue security risks.

“A stable and thoughtful regulatory approach to the use of artificial intelligence technologies in this state will continue to foster an environment for innovation while protecting individual and civil rights,” Murphy wrote in the order.

The task force will be led by the state's chief innovation officer, chief technology officer and the CEO of the Economic Development Authority. Other members from the state include its attorney general, commissioner of the Department of Education, secretary of higher education and more.

The task force will consult with public- and private-sector experts, including members of academia who focus on AI or ethics, as well as professionals with experience in constitutional and legal rights, law enforcement, education and consumer protection. Executive branch entities are required to cooperate in a timely manner with any task force requests for data, information or assistance.

The task force isn’t the only new AI effort, either. The executive order also calls for various departments to explore the potential benefits of AI and pave the way for responsible use.

The Office of Information Technology, for one, is now charged with assessing tools and strategies for using AI to improve government services and then with helping executive branch members adopt AI to do just that. The Office of Innovation and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness will also assist with that adoption. Plus, the Office of Innovation will create a staff training program on how to use AI responsibly and intelligently.

The Office of IT will also formally develop a policy guiding the executive branch's use of AI.

Other initiatives look beyond government to consider AI in academia and the workforce. The order directs the secretary of higher education to “review artificial intelligence technologies as a research opportunity for New Jersey colleges and universities.”

Meanwhile, the Economic Development Authority is to explore how AI can promote economic growth and job creation. The agency also will look at how employers could use AI to improve training and talent development “especially for low-income residents.”