In a significant move aimed at establishing clear guidelines for the responsible use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Governor Glenn Youngkin has signed an Executive Order that sets forth standards and policies for AI in both the educational sector and government operations. This development comes as a response to the growing integration of AI in various industries and its potential impact on education and public administration.
Two sets of standards: Policy and IT requirements for AI
Andrew Wheeler, Director of the Office of Regulatory Management, explained that the Executive Order encompasses two key components. The first pertains to policy standards for AI, while the second addresses the information technology (IT) requirements necessary to implement AI effectively. These standards are designed to ensure that AI technologies are harnessed responsibly and ethically.
Guidelines for AI usage in education
One notable aspect of the Executive Order is the inclusion of guidelines for the use of AI in education, spanning from kindergarten to post-secondary levels. Wheeler emphasized the importance of preparing students for a future where AI plays an increasingly prominent role in various industries. These guidelines aim to strike a balance between equipping students with AI-related skills and preventing the misuse of AI for unethical purposes, such as cheating.
“Any industry or any type of job will probably be using AI in some way. We want to make sure our students are prepared, but we also want to make sure we don’t cheat them out of an education and use it, for example, for cheating,” remarked Wheeler.
Shifting perceptions: AI as a learning tool
The conversation surrounding AI has evolved from concerns about its potential misuse to recognizing its value as a powerful learning tool. Will Webb, Senior Vice President and Dean of the Palmer College of Professional Studies at Mary Baldwin University, underscored the positive outcomes that AI can facilitate for students as they prepare to enter the workforce.
“AI can really enable positive outcomes in terms of how students are likely, when they leave us for the workforce, to use these tools in pursuing their careers,” said Webb. He further expressed his institution’s interest in exploring how generative AI tools can impact various job sectors and influence curriculum development to prepare students for practical AI applications.
Governor Youngkin’s vision for responsible AI use
Andrew Wheeler highlighted the potential of AI as a tool to enhance government efficiency and effectiveness. However, he emphasized the necessity of establishing clear guidelines and standards to ensure responsible AI implementation.
“We can always change the standards after we see how it’s implemented. Part of this is to move forward with a few pilots at a few agencies, test out the standards, make sure they are effective,” stated Wheeler.
Governor Youngkin’s objective is to create a framework that allows for the responsible utilization of AI, with the flexibility to adapt and refine the standards as necessary.
Looking ahead: Responsible AI integration
As AI continues to advance and permeate various sectors, Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order signifies Virginia’s commitment to harnessing the potential of AI while safeguarding against misuse. The dual focus on policy standards and IT requirements, along with guidelines for educational institutions, reflects a holistic approach to AI integration.
The Executive Order serves as a foundation for Virginia’s journey into the AI-driven future. It sets the stage for responsible AI adoption across industries, ensuring that both students and government agencies can harness the power of AI for the benefit of society.
Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order on AI standards has ushered in a new era for Virginia, one that balances the advantages of AI with the imperative of responsible use. With clear policy standards and IT requirements, as well as guidelines for education, the state is poised to navigate the evolving landscape of AI technology, making informed decisions that benefit its citizens and future generations. As AI continues to evolve, Virginia stands as a model for responsible integration and utilization of this transformative technology.