Home Youngkin signs executive directive on AI with focus on four areas of public protections

Youngkin signs executive directive on AI with focus on four areas of public protections

Rebecca Barnabi
artificial intelligence
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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed Executive Directive Number Five (2023) yesterday on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The order focuses on four specific areas to ensure public protections while recognizing opportunities in AI innovation.

“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. “At the same time, we must ensure that these AI products and technologies have appropriate standards and guardrails to protect individual privacy rights in a transparent manner. Our Executive Directive tackles both: seizing the opportunities AI presents while recognizing and mitigating the risks.”

Youngkin’s order acknowledges the critical role state government must play in ensuring effective oversight of the novel technology known as AI. The widespread availability of AI products will rapidly expand analytical power in the coming years, and present opportunities and challenges to Virginia’s divers labor, technology and education ecosystems.

“The Commonwealth is home to one of the most innovative workforces and some of the most critical national security institutions in our country. Together with our academic research institutions Virginia can lead the way in the transparent and innovative use of AI nationally,” Director of the Office of Regulatory Management Andrew Wheeler said.

Virginia’s exposure to AI is unique because it is home to the largest population of cybersecurity companies and personnel on the East Coast, as well as colleges and universities that lead the nation in technology research and development, and the most critical national security and military intelligence institutions in the nation. The Executive Order signed by Governor Youngkin combines strong protection for Virginian residents and businesses while recognizing opportunities presented by AI innovation.

The Executive Directive is issued to ensure responsible, ethical and transparent use of AI, which will cultivate targeted, innovative uses of this expanding technology in the Commonwealth. The order focuses inquiry on four key areas to ensure proper use of AI by state government, including legal protections, policy standards, IT safeguards, and K-12 and higher education implications.

The first area of focus includes a review of the legal requirements, such as privacy or intellectual property, under Virginia law for the use of AI technologies. Second, identify the policy standards necessary for state agencies to effectively use AI. Third, identify the appropriate IT safeguards such as cybersecurity and firewalls, needed to alleviate security and privacy risks. Finally, determine the appropriate path to ensure students are trained to compete using the technology, while also protecting against misuse in the classroom.

The Executive Directive calls for the Office of Regulatory Management (ORM) to work with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) to find answers to the four areas of focus. The Executive Directive includes identification of pilot uses of AI by state agencies to see how AI can help modernize state government, determination of how AI can be capitalized for economic growth, and an examination of the impact of AI on power generation requirements.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.