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Pennsylvania Announces GenAI Pilot for State Employees

The state of Pennsylvania has announced a partnership with OpenAI to pilot generative AI tools for state employees. The pilot aims to guide responsible future use and development of the tools in the public space.

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Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and OpenAI today announced a pilot program for a tool that will allow state employees to advance the responsible use of generative AI in government.

The pilot was recommended by the state’s Generative AI Governing Board, which was established by executive order in September 2023 to make recommendations related to generative AI policy, development, procurement and deployment.

As states work to develop road maps to guide AI use, different state governments are exploring different regulatory approaches — and Pennsylvania was an early adopter of a generative AI-focused policy.

The pilot will be led by the state’s Office of Administration, leveraging the OpenAI product called ChatGPT Enterprise to help employees better understand the role of AI in their daily operations — and how it can be adopted securely.

The goal for the pilot is that, in state employees’ first use of GenAI tools, the findings will reveal helpful information to guide further integration of the technology into state daily operations to improve productivity.

Notably, this marks OpenAI’s first agreement with a state entity.

The pilot officially begins this month with Office of Administration employees. The tool will be used for tasks including crafting and editing copy, improving the accessibility of outdated policy language, drafting job descriptions and helping employees generate code. Another use will be addressing conflicting guidance or duplication within employee policy — of which there are hundreds of thousands of pages.

State employees will receive individual support for the use of the tool and will be able to provide feedback to the pilot team to inform future uses.

Although the pilot will start with Office of Administration employees, 100 additional licenses will be made available to non-agency employees in the future for additional testing and feedback.

“Our goal with the pilot is to work closely with a small number of employees to figure out where we can have the greatest impact using generative AI tools,” said Office of Administration Secretary Neil Weaver, chair of the Generative AI Governing Board, in the announcement.

Lessons learned through this pilot will help the Office of Administration identify which other state government jobs could benefit from using generative AI technology.

The Office of Administration will collaborate with experts at the Carnegie Mellon University Block Center for Technology and Society throughout the pilot in addition to collaborating with OpenAI. This builds on the state’s September 2023 announcement that it would be partnering with the center to advance AI in the state.

Pennsylvanians will not directly interact with ChatGPT when they interact with state government, the announcement notes.

The ChatGPT Enterprise product has additional security and management features not available in the consumer version of the tool. Because of this, no data inputs by state employees into the tool will be used to train ChatGPT or future OpenAI products. The added security also ensures data is not shared between agencies in the state. Additionally, state employees are not to use sensitive information when using ChatGPT for operations.