Published on January 18, 2024, 3:27 pm

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has announced its federal advocacy priorities for 2024, with artificial intelligence (AI) being added to the list. NASCIO’s newest priority, “Artificial Intelligence states leading the way,” aims to support states’ efforts in implementing and regulating AI, particularly generative AI which has gained popularity in recent years.

According to Alex Whitaker, NASCIO’s government affairs director, the association wants to encourage Congress and federal agencies to consider what states have already done in terms of AI regulations and legislation. The focus is not only on highlighting the achievements of states but also on emphasizing the need for resources and assistance from the federal government to effectively implement policies related to AI.

Meredith Ward, NASCIO’s deputy executive director, stressed that no state can tackle an issue as significant as AI on its own. She emphasized the importance of collaboration between states and the federal government in establishing guardrails for responsible and safe use of AI within government operations. Ward stated that while many states have enacted new policies addressing generative AI, they still rely on federal support.

To address this gap, President Joe Biden issued an executive order in October 2023 that set security standards for federal agencies and called for further research into AI. At the same time, numerous states have taken action by enacting policies to regulate generative AI. However, without a national policy governing their use of this technology, it becomes crucial for states and the federal government to find a way to work together efficiently.

Regarding cybersecurity priorities, Ward encouraged states to take advantage of the $1 billion state and local cybersecurity grant program offered by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). While funding remains an ongoing concern for many states working with local governments on cybersecurity initiatives, Ward acknowledged that this grant program is a step in the right direction.

In conclusion, as AI continues to shape various sectors, including government operations, NASCIO recognizes the importance of federal support in implementing effective AI policies. By collaborating and sharing knowledge, both states and the federal government can navigate the challenges posed by generative AI while ensuring responsible use and cybersecurity.

Additional Content:
Generative AI, a subfield of artificial intelligence, has seen a significant rise in popularity over the past year. This technology involves training algorithms to generate realistic content such as text, images, or even music. While it offers exciting possibilities for various applications, there is also a need for careful regulation and oversight to ensure its ethical use.

NASCIO’s advocacy priorities reflect the growing recognition that AI has transformative potential but must be harnessed responsibly. With states leading the way in implementing AI initiatives, their experiences can provide valuable insights for federal regulations and legislation.

The collaboration between states and the federal government is crucial not just in terms of AI but also in addressing cybersecurity challenges. As cyber threats continue to evolve, it is essential for governments at all levels to work together and allocate resources effectively to protect critical infrastructure from attacks. The CISA grant program mentioned by NASCIO aims to provide states with much-needed support in strengthening their cybersecurity capabilities.

Overall, this report highlights the forward-looking approach of state chief information officers and their commitment to leveraging emerging technologies while ensuring data security and privacy. By embracing AI responsibly and building strong collaborative networks, governments at all levels can pave the way for a future where innovation thrives alongside robust governance frameworks.

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