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Oregon Executive Order Creates Path for AI Integration in Government

A new executive order mandates that a council of representatives with backgrounds in IT, artificial intelligence, racial justice and cultural change will create a plan that outlines how government workers can use AI in a fair, equitable and transparent way.

Oregon state capitol building
Shutterstock/Bob Pool
Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek has signed an executive order establishing a new advisory council to develop a plan for ethical, transparent and inclusive AI use in Oregon government decision-making.

Gov. Kotek signed the order Nov. 28, following in the footsteps of at least a half a dozen other states where governors have used their executive power to mandate some kind of AI action plan.

“Artificial intelligence is an important new frontier, bringing the potential for substantial benefits to our society, as well as risks we must prepare for,” Kotek said. “This rapidly developing technological landscape leads to questions that we must take head on, including concerns regarding ethics, privacy, equity, security and social change. It has never been more essential to ensure the safe and beneficial use of artificial intelligence — and I look forward to seeing the work this council produces. We want to continue to foster an environment for innovation while also protecting individual and civil rights.”

Specifically the council will be examining how AI can support state employees with information needed for decision-making, as well as create clear usage policies that outline the acceptable use of AI tools; provide transparency; and uplift diversity, equity and inclusion while protecting sensitive information.

The order mandates that the AI Advisory Council will be chaired by the Oregon CIO, a role currently held by Terrence Woods. The council is limited to 15 people, and will include IT, AI, racial justice and cultural change representatives appointed by Gov. Kotek, as well as others appointed by the speaker of the House, president of the Senate, representatives within Oregon’s Enterprise Information Services, the Department of Administration's cultural change director and the governor’s Racial Justice Council.

The council is tasked with coming up with “concrete executive actions, policies and investments” needed to leverage AI while maintaining transparency, privacy, diversity, equity and inclusion. The group must report their findings to the governor within six months of meeting, and deliver a final action plan no later than a year after meeting.