Youngkin seeks agency input on state AI policy
Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration is hopeful a new directive on artificial intelligence will help build lasting policies for how the state and its partners work with the developing technology.
Andrew Wheeler, the controversial former head of the Environmental Protection Agency under former president Donald Trump, said he hopes the Commonwealth will leverage its existing role as a home for federal data and security contractors and data centers when developing the policies.
“We have lots of professionals in the private sector working on AI, and we want to make sure we harness that expertise and take advantage of that and use it in our state agencies," said Wheeler, who now serves as Youngkin's Director of the Office of Regulatory Management.
The directive, issued September 20th, asked for reports from agencies that touch education, workforce development, legal and state efficiency. Wheeler said he hopes the final report will address things like student’s use and potential abuse of AI, while also developing new ways for the public to interact with the state, like using chatbots to answer questions for those seeking services.
“Can you use this technology to make government more efficient and effective and of course cost savings are a part of that equation," Wheeler added, before stressing the resulting policies would also be considered deliberately.
“Virginians should be assured we’re not going to rush into anything but at the same time we don't want to be left behind on the way this technology is changing the way businesses operate and the government could operate,” he said.
Youngkin asked for feedback from state agencies by mid-December. Wheeler said they could generate legislation or budget requests in time for the 2024 General Assembly Session in January.