Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has launched a new working group to study and offer recommendations for the safe use of artificial intelligence (AI) within Arkansas state government.

“AI is already transforming the face of business in America, and Arkansas’ state government can’t get caught flat-footed,” said Gov. Sanders. “As we work to find efficiencies within state government, AI can play a role, with appropriate guardrails, in improving our level of service to Arkansans while keeping costs low. At the same time, we must prevent the misuse of AI to protect Arkansans. This working group will build the knowledge base we need to achieve those goals safely.”

The working group, named the AI and Analytics Center of Excellence (AI CoE), is a subcommittee of the Data and Transparency Panel (DTP). The AI CoE will be chaired by Robert McGough, Arkansas’ chief data officer.

The governor’s office said the working group will study, assess, and provide recommendations for policies, guidelines, and best practices for the ethical, effective, and safe use of AI across the Arkansas state government. Additionally, the AI CoE will review and evaluate a set of pilot projects to encourage learning about AI and its potential risks, and to craft best practices for the safe potential implementation of the technology.

The governor said in a press release that the AI CoE’s comprehensive guidelines will encompass the following initial considerations: accountability, appropriate data sets, autonomy, bias, ethical use, intellectual property ownership, privacy and security, and transparency.

Ahead of establishing the working group, the state government has identified two projects as initial AI use cases for the AI CoE. The two projects meet specific criteria, including data availability, demonstrable value, alignment with state priorities, stakeholder buy-in, and secured funding. The projects are unemployment insurance fraud and recidivism reduction.

The AI CoE will exist for one year from its date of establishment unless extended or terminated by the governor. The AI CoE, which will meet monthly, will provide an initial report to the governor by Dec. 15, 2024, on the progress of its pilot use cases and proof-of-concept projects, focusing on efficiencies, cost savings, safety, and economic development.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs