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Pennsylvania, Virginia Governors Issue AI Executive Orders

Governors Josh Shapiro and Glenn Youngkin have issued new guidance on the use of artificial intelligence technology in state government. Both orders seek to create a more solid foundation for the rapidly evolving technology.

Pennsylvania Gov.  Josh Shapiro standing at a podium and speaking while gesturing with his right hand. A blurred crowd in stands is behind him.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro
Two governors this week issued new guidance on the use of artificial intelligence technology in state government.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Josh Shapiro yesterday signed an executive order establishing a Generative AI Governing Board under the state’s Office of Administration to oversee the implementation of new standards. Those guardrails will cover a range of topics from counteracting bias in AI technology usage to implementing comprehensive training programs for government employees. The Office of Administration will also lead the development and implementation of policies to safeguard and secure customer data.

“We can’t ignore new technology — we have to educate ourselves and be proactive to minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of innovation and that’s the approach my administration is taking here in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said in a press release. “This new executive order will help us responsibly integrate this emerging technology into some of our government operations so we can move at the speed of business and better serve Pennsylvanians.”

The executive order also states that “although Generative AI cannot replace human creativity or moral judgment, it can be used to its full potential when grounded in a balanced approach prioritizing Pennsylvania employees, encouraging the innovative uses of technology to better serve Pennsylvanians.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a similar order on the same day.

Youngkin’s Executive Directive Number Five aims to “ensure responsible, ethical and transparent use of AI,” according to the document, and focuses on several aspects regarding AI usage, including legal protections, policy standards, IT safeguards and K-12 and higher education implications.

“Virginia is a leader in technology and will stay a leader in technology. The increasing use of AI, especially generative AI, offers tremendous opportunities to transform the way we serve all Virginians, from launching innovative personalized education tools to improving customer service and beyond,” Youngkin said in a press release. “At the same time, we must ensure that these AI products and technologies have appropriate standards and guardrails to protect individual privacy rights transparently. Our executive directive tackles both: seizing the opportunities AI presents while recognizing and mitigating the risks.”

The first phase of the directive will focus on a comprehensive review of the legal implications of AI, including regulatory standards for the use of intellectual property and privacy. The second and third steps pertain to creating policies to guide the usage of AI tools and identify the necessary safeguards and cybersecurity plans to minimize risk.