Governor Signs Executive Order on Commonwealth Use of Artificial Intelligence

Governor Josh Shapiro signed an Executive Order to establish standards and a governance framework for generative artificial intelligence (AI) use by Commonwealth agencies, outline the values and principles by which Commonwealth employees will utilize generative AI technologies, engage Pennsylvania’s leading AI innovation and research sector to understand potential impacts and opportunities of generative AI on the Commonwealth’s workforce and digital service delivery, and establish a Generative AI Governing Board to guide Commonwealth policy, use, and deployment.

“We can’t ignore new technology – we have to educate ourselves and be proactive to minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of innovation and that’s the approach my Administration is taking here in Pennsylvania,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “This new Executive Order will help us responsibly integrate this emerging technology into some of our government operations so we can move at the speed of business and better serve Pennsylvanians. With strong partners like Carnegie Mellon, Pennsylvania has the potential to become a leader in responsible, ethical use of generative artificial intelligence.”

The Executive Order enumerates ten core values that the executive branch will use to govern the use of generative AI in Pennsylvania, including: accuracy, adaptability, employee empowerment, equity and fairness, innovation, mission alignment, privacy, proportionality, safety and security, and transparency.

Based on the core values outlined in the Executive Order, the Office of Administration (OA) will create training materials on generative AI usage and the Commonwealth’s governance structure, develop generative AI knowledge certifications for employees. OA will also explore a science and technology fellowship for post-bachelors, -masters, and -doctoral candidates to pursue a two-year stint with the Commonwealth focused in part on the intersection of generative AI with their assigned agencies’ mission.

“The Commonwealth is committed to being an employer that puts its people first and a place where you can make a positive difference in the lives of Pennsylvanians. This Executive Order positions the Commonwealth to be a proactive leader in the adoption of generative artificial intelligence by employees in their daily work. This technology isn’t coming – it’s already here,” said Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver. “We see generative artificial intelligence as an employee enhancement tool, not an employee replacement tool. As the agency responsible for information technology and human resources, the Office of Administration will approach this new technology holistically and with our employees at the forefront.”

With this Executive Order, Governor Shapiro has directed Commonwealth agencies to begin preparing for the impact of generative AI on government operations. The Commonwealth’s public safety agencies are working tirelessly with top experts in the space to address the threats AI poses, and the Administration is taking a multi-agency approach towards protecting Pennsylvania consumers from threats posed by generative AI.

Governor Shapiro also announced a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Block Center for Technology and Society, one of Pennsylvania’s leading generative AI research institutions, which will create opportunities for the Commonwealth to leverage faculty expertise and receive advisory support for the Generative AI Governance Board, as well as foster additional research support and collaboration on generative AI usage.

“This is a defining moment for Pennsylvania and our nation. Today’s accelerating pace of innovation is profoundly re-shaping our society and artificial intelligence, in particular, is rapidly transforming nearly every sector of our economy,” said Farnam Jahanian, President of Carnegie Mellon University. “Governor Shapiro recognizes the incredible potential of this moment as much as he understands the challenges of responsibly and ethically leveraging AI for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians. The Carnegie Mellon University community is eager to contribute our deep expertise in AI and leadership at the intersection of technology, policy and society to support the Governor in implementing artificial intelligence tools and solutions for the benefit of the Commonwealth.”

Finally, the Executive Order establishes a new generative AI Governing Board to weigh the development, procurement, and deployment of generative AI based on the core values in the Executive Order. Comprised of senior Administration officials from the Governor’s Office, Office of General Counsel, Office of Administration, and Department of Labor and Industry, the Governing Board will oversee the responsible, efficient, and ethical use of generative AI across the Commonwealth and identify opportunities for pilot projects in which the use of generative AI could significantly empower employees in their work.

As part of this package, the AI Governing Board will hold its first meeting next week to discuss the resources available to Commonwealth employees through OA and to help determine initial guidance needed in the employee use policy, as well as pursuing future fellowships and research partnerships to support the Commonwealth.