The city of San Jose, Calif., has established the GovAI Coalition to help shape the future of artificial intelligence (AI) in government. The city said it welcomes state, local, and other municipal government agencies to join the coalition.

“San José is the worldwide hub for innovation – and the latest innovations are happening in AI,” said Mayor Matt Mahan. “It just makes sense for our city to lead the charge in both the creation of these new technologies and the responsible use of them. I’m excited to welcome new partners to the table as we discuss the future of AI and government.”

The coalition was initially launched in 2023 to help create standards for responsible and purposeful AI in government. It is led by City of San José Information Technology Department, in partnership with other agencies in the state and around the country including Austin, Texas, Cleveland, Long Beach, Calif., San Antonio, City of San Diego, San Diego County, St. Paul, Minn., Colorado’s Department of Revenue, and the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon. Currently, the coalition has a network of more than 400 public servants from over 150 agencies.

“The Coalition is focused on establishing standards for AI policies, procurement, implementation, and ensuring public privacy to advance the use of AI in delivering government services,” said San Jose City Manager Jennifer Maguire. “This coalition is a wonderful opportunity for our City to work with other government agencies on AI best practices. I look forward to seeing how this coalition of like-minded partners will foster the current and future AI environment for our workforce.”

Thus far, the coalition has released an open letter and a toolkit to help public agencies adopt and implement responsible AI practices. Moving forward, the coalition’s priority will be to practice using the toolkit and implementing AI solutions to enhance civic services and public engagement. The city said these tools have intentionally been aligned with emerging national standards and unify the needs of many local governments.

“The City of San José’s investment in the Digital Privacy and AI Office positioned the City to drive the effort for using AI in a way that benefits everyone,” said Khaled Tawfik, chief information officer and director of the Information Technology Department.

“When we released our first AI guidelines, we received an overwhelming response from other agencies facing the same challenges minimizing the risks around AI bias, privacy, and cybersecurity,” Tawfik said. “The AI models we use are the same that every city in the country might use, so it was clear that we needed a coalition to consolidate our intention and influence on the global AI developers.”

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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