Published on May 10, 2024, 3:14 am

California Governor Newsom Embraces Generative Ai For State Improvements

California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced plans for the state to utilize generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools to address various issues such as reducing traffic congestion, enhancing road safety, and providing tax assistance. This move is part of Gov. Newsom’s initiative to leverage cutting-edge technologies for public service improvements.

In collaboration with five companies, California aims to develop generative AI tools using advancements from tech giants like Microsoft-backed OpenAI, as well as Google- and Amazon-supported Anthropic. These tools are intended to enhance the state’s service delivery to the public by offering better solutions.

State officials, including Amy Tong, the secretary of government operations for California, have expressed optimism about the companies’ focus on utilizing Generative AI for governmental purposes. The selected companies will undergo a six-month internal trial period during which their proposed tools will be evaluated by state employees. Notably, these tools are classified as low risk since they do not interact with sensitive data or personal information.

Governor Newsom has positioned California as a global leader in AI technology, highlighting that 35 of the world’s top 50 AI companies are situated within the state. He previously issued an executive order mandating the exploration of responsible ways to integrate generative AI into various sectors by this summer, with the ultimate goal of establishing California as an AI pioneer.

While Generative AI shows promise in enhancing government efficiency, there is a pressing need for oversight and safeguards to mitigate potential risks. Instances like New York City’s use of an AI-powered chatbot that provided inaccurate guidance underscore the importance of careful implementation. Concerns such as job displacement, misinformation dissemination, privacy issues, and automation bias have also been raised in light of the rapid advancement of this technology.

To build public trust and ensure transparency, California requires disclosing the large language models used in developing AI tools. Moreover, rigorous testing and feedback mechanisms involving state workers are being employed to identify and mitigate any risks associated with deploying these tools.

For instance, the California Department of Transportation seeks AI solutions to analyze traffic patterns and enhance road safety measures. Similarly, the Department of Tax and Fee Administration aims to streamline call center operations using AI technology without replacing human staff members. By listening in on calls and providing relevant tax code information instantaneously, these tools aim to improve customer service efficiency.

As efforts progress swiftly in deploying Generative AI tools across various public services in California, officials emphasize continuous monitoring post-implementation to ascertain effectiveness while mitigating potential risks effectively. The primary objective remains achieving enhanced service delivery without compromising privacy or security standards amid technological advancements.

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