Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee
Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee

Rhode Island to Form AI Task Force and Data CoE

The aim is to investigate how AI can enhance efficiency in government operations, improve public services, and responsibly support technological advancements in the state's private sector.

Governor Dan McKee of Rhode Island has issued an Executive Order to establish the State’s inaugural AI Task Force and a Center of Excellence (CoE) for AI and Data within the state government.

The aim is to investigate how AI can enhance efficiency in government operations, improve public services, and responsibly support technological advancements in the state's private sector.

Purpose of the AI Task Force

McKee emphasizes that Rhode Island aims to be a proactive leader in the evolving field of AI rather than merely reacting to changes. Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos expresses the need to prepare for AI's rapid advancements and highlights the collaboration between government, business, and nonprofit leaders to seize opportunities presented by this technology.

The Task Force, led by former Congressman Jim Langevin, will evaluate the risks and opportunities associated with AI advancements and provide advice to state policymakers. The membership will include representatives from Rhode Island's public and private sectors. McKee has also chosen Langevin to lead the newly established Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies in the state.

Key Objectives of the AI and Data CoE

The Center of Excellence for AI, under the Department of Administration's guidance, will work with the Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies to establish a state code of ethics for AI and anticipate future trends in the field. Additionally, a Data Center of Excellence will focus on advancing data operations and management to facilitate collaboration on data analysis and data-driven decision-making among state leaders.

The Executive Order includes the development of a statewide federated data platform to enhance data accessibility and utilization. This platform will draw on best practices from existing systems like the Data Ecosystem at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Rhode Island Longitudinal Data System at the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner.

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Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee

“Being able to readily connect and analyze data across state programs will afford us better insights on the effects programs have on Rhode Island communities and will enable state leaders to make more data-driven decisions," says Department of Administration Director Jonathan Womer.

Womer emphasizes that a robust data infrastructure will better position the government to assess how AI can benefit state workers and the public responsibly.

The Executive Order also establishes the role of the Chief Data Officer within the state’s Enterprise Technology Strategy and Services Division to oversee the Data Center of Excellence. 

“When it comes to technology, data security, and individual privacy continue to be our top priorities," says Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information Officer Brian Tardiff, emphasizing the development of a State Code of Ethics to ensure a human-centric focus that minimizes bias and maximizes support and resources.

Finally, the order encourages collaboration among the Department of Labor and Training, the Rhode Island Department of Education, and the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner to develop training and educational opportunities for both state workers and students on current and emerging AI tools.

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