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Pennsylvania state government will prepare to start using AI in its operations

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania state government will prepare to use artificial intelligence in its operations, Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro said Wednesday, as states are increasingly trying to gauge the impact of AI and how to regulate it.

Shapiro, speaking at a news conference at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said his administration is convening an AI governing board, publishing principles on the use of AI and developing training programs for state employees.

Pennsylvanians will expect state government to understand AI, adapt to AI and ensure that it is being used safely in the private sector, Shapiro said.

“We don’t want to let AI happen to us," Shapiro said. "We want to be part of helping develop AI for the betterment of our citizens.”

Shapiro's administration plans to start a two-year fellowship program to recruit AI experts who can help agencies incorporate it into their operations. He said the state's public safety agencies have already begun consulting with AI experts to prepare for any AI-driven threats, such as fraud.

The governing board of senior administration officials will be asked to guide the development, purchase and use of AI, with the help of Carnegie Mellon faculty, the administration said.

Among state policymakers nationwide, AI is a growing area of concern. States including Wisconsin, Texas, Louisiana, North Dakota and West Virginia have taken action to study some of the effects of AI.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this month signed an executive order to study the development, use and risks of AI, and lawmakers in at least 25 states have introduced bills that address it, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

In Pennsylvania, lawmakers have introduced several bills on AI, including a pair to study its impacts on the state.

One bill would allow caseworkers to use it to help determine someone's eligibility for a government program and to detect fraud. Another would create a registry of companies that make software containing algorithmic logic for use in automated calls, voice or text prompts online.

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