Massachusetts creating task force to consider AI use statewide

February 22, 2024

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has signed an executive order that establishes an Artificial Intelligence Strategic Task Force that would study the how the state can help private businesses and educational institutions effectively use AI and generative AI.

The task force would conduct research via focused working groups to create recommendations for how the state can support AI adoption for public use and to support private business.

The 26-member group is made up of business leaders, university faculty and officials and state and municipal lawmakers. It will begin working in February and make recommendations later this year.

“Artificial intelligence is already changing aspects of daily life and the world around us, which is why it’s critical that we ensure that the Commonwealth’s businesses are well prepared for that transition, and that Massachusetts is positioned to benefit from the growth of emerging technologies related to AI,” state House Speaker Ron Mariano said in a press release.

Gov. Healey also said she will seek $100 million from state lawmakers to establish an Applied Artificial Intelligence Hub in the Bay State. If approved, the funds will be used to launch a capital grant program to support the use of AI to solve public policy problems and advancements in sectors such as life sciences, healthcare, financial services, advanced manufacturing, robotics and education.

This funding would be in addition to the recently filed FutureTech Act, which authorizes $25 million for information technology capital AI projects within the governor’s office.

Governments nationwide have been creating similar task forces and studying ways to use AI.

In early February, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order laying out a plan to integrate generative AI technologies into state operations.

The order mandates Washington Technology Solutions (WaTech) and the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) develop guidelines based on national standards and address critical topics such as safety, algorithmic discrimination, and privacy. It ensures vendors adhere to stringent risk-management frameworks in the procurement and use of AI technologies.

Pennsylvania started a pilot generative AI program in January for state employees to use to write code and update documents.

In October 2023, the Biden Administration issued an executive order on artificial intelligence addressing tech-driven issues such as housing discrimination, cybersecurity and data privacy. The order stressed the need for more guidance and regulation for the rapidly evolving technology.

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Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash

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