Governor Newsom signs executive order to prepare California for Artificial Intelligence


Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to study the development, use, and risks of artificial intelligence (AI) technology throughout California and to develop a deliberate and responsible process for the evaluation and deployment of AI within the state government.

To capture the benefits of AI for the good of society, and to protect against its potential harms, Governor Newsom issued an executive order on September 6. In the order, he has specified the way forward for California’s measured approach and focus on shaping the future of ethical, transparent, and trustworthy AI, while remaining the world’s AI leader.

Speaking about California being the global hub for generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), Governor Newsom said, “This is a potentially transformative technology – comparable to the advent of the internet – and we’re only scratching the surface of understanding what GenAI is capable of. We recognize both the potential benefits and risks these tools enable. We’re neither frozen by the fears nor hypnotized by the upside. We’re taking a clear-eyed, humble approach to this world-changing technology. Asking questions. Seeking answers from experts. Focused on shaping the future of ethical, transparent, and trustworthy AI. Doing what California always does – leading the world in technological progress.”

“GenAI has the potential to catalyze innovation and the rapid development of a wide range of benefits for Californians and the state’s economy, such as advances in medicine, wildfire forecasting and prevention, and climate science, and to push the bounds of human creativity and capacity,” the executive order said.

California has been a global leader in education, innovation, research, development, talent, entrepreneurship, and new technologies for decades. As these technologies continue to grow and develop, California has established itself as the world leader in GenAI innovation with 35 of the world’s top 50 AI companies and a quarter of all AI patents, conference papers, and companies globally.

California is also home to world-leading GenAI research institutions – the University of California, Berkeley’s College of Computing, Data Science, and Society, and Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence – providing a unique opportunity for academic research and government collaboration.

To deploy GenAI ethically and responsibly throughout state government, protect and prepare for potential harms, and remain the world’s AI leader, the Governor’s executive order includes a number of provisions.

Provisions in the executive order:

Risk-Analysis Report: Direct state agencies and departments to perform a joint risk analysis of potential threats to and vulnerabilities of California’s critical energy infrastructure by the use of GenAI.

Procurement Blueprint: To support a safe, ethical, and responsible innovation ecosystem inside state government, agencies will issue general guidelines for public sector procurement, uses, and required training for the application of GenAI – building on the White House’s Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and the National Institute for Science and Technology’s AI Risk Management Framework. State agencies and departments will consider procurement and enterprise use opportunities where GenAI can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, accessibility, and equity of government operations.

Beneficial Uses of GenAI Report: Direct state agencies and departments to develop a report examining the most significant and beneficial uses of GenAI in the state. The report will also explain the potential harms and risks for communities, government, and state government workers.

Deployment and Analysis Framework: Develop guidelines for agencies and departments to analyze the impact that adopting GenAI tools may have on vulnerable communities. The state will establish the infrastructure needed to conduct pilots of GenAI projects, including California Department of Technology-approved environments or “sandboxes” to test such projects.

State Employee Training: To support California’s state government workforce and prepare for the next generation of skills needed to thrive in the GenAI economy, agencies will provide training for state government workers to use state-approved GenAI to achieve equitable outcomes, and will establish criteria to evaluate the impact of GenAI to the state government workforce.

GenAI Partnership and Symposium: Establish a formal partnership with the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University to consider and evaluate the impacts of GenAI on California and what efforts the state should undertake to advance its leadership in this industry. The state and the institutions will develop and host a joint summit in 2024 to engage in meaningful discussions about the impacts of GenAI on California and its workforce.

Legislative Engagement: Engage with Legislative partners and key stakeholders in a formal process to develop policy recommendations for the responsible use of AI, including any guidelines, criteria, reports, and/or training.

Evaluate Impacts of AI on an Ongoing Basis: Periodically evaluate for potential impact of GenAI on regulatory issues under the respective agency, department, or board’s authority and recommend necessary updates as a result of this evolving technology.


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