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GenAI Continues to Dominate CIO and CISO Conversations

The NASCIO Midyear Conference this past week highlighted the good, the bad and the scary of generative AI, as well as the vital importance of the data that states are using to feed large language models.

Jim Weaver gives remarks at NASCIO Midyear 2024
North Carolina CIO and NASCIO President Jim Weaver gives opening remarks at the NASCIO Midyear Conference in National Harbor, Md., April 29, 2024.
Government Technology/David Kidd
One look at the agenda for the 2024 National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) Midyear Conference in Maryland this past week told the story: All roads currently lead to generative AI (GenAI).

But backing up a bit, and for those who may not participate in or understand the importance of these public-sector CxO conversations, NASCIO conference discussions and sessions are paramount to state government technology strategies and plans. In fact, these state government technology, security and privacy trends and best practices could be compared to the importance of the NFL draft discussions for college and professional football fans.


To highlight the great coverage that Government Technology provided of the 2024 Midyear Conference, and partially because I have a quick turnaround to get to the RSA Conference in San Francisco next week, here are some of the top stories and excerpts that flowed from two-plus days of discussions, with my personal observations sprinkled throughout.

As I shared on LinkedIn last Tuesday and noted in the comments there, the opening keynote by Theresa Payton was probably my favorite session. She covered many positive aspects of GenAI and also some scary cyber trends. There is much more in this piece: “NASCIO Speakers Pepper Their AI Optimism With Warnings.” Here’s an excerpt:

“She cautioned that artificial intelligence technology, while helping public agencies with a variety of tasks both mundane and novel, also will provide much better access to cyber criminals.

“For instance, ChatGPT can provide what amounts to targeted marketing for digital thieves. It can enable them to craft their cons in the language of specific audiences and regions, such as writing in different dialects of English.

“In her example, criminals could use what she called the Matthew McConaughey style of Texas English to appeal to people in that state, referencing the actor known for his particular Southern drawl.

“Digital criminals could also build ‘synthetic’ identities from real ones and even manage to land remote jobs, Payton said, presenting another challenge for public agencies, tech providers and other organizations in their never-ending fight against fraud.”


Here are several good articles that contain video interviews with CIOs on various hot topics:


There were several other hot topics in breakout sessions and hallway conversations this past week at the NASCIO Midyear Conference. Those conversations included identity management, fraud prevention, deepfakes being created with GenAI and the governance of data.

The NASCIO mission statement also was discussed in this piece, which shines a light of the expanded roles of state CIOs:

“At the group’s 2024 Midyear Conference in Maryland, state CIOs discussed the implications of NASCIO’s revised mission statement — the first such change in at least 12 years, according to Stephanie Dedmon, CIO of Tennessee and past president of NASCIO.

NASCIO describes its mission as ‘advancing government excellence through trusted collaboration, partnerships and technology leadership.’”

Finally, GovTech’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers of 2024 were revealed this past week. Here is the list — including several CISOs.


My busy week ended with a keynote on ransomware stories at the Public Technology Institute (PTI) AI and Cyber Summit in Washington, D.C. This was an event for city and county leaders that mirrored many of the same messages from the NASCIO Midyear event.

Bottom line, just as I started, all roads currently lead to GenAI.
Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker and author.