District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser signed into effect last week an order that outlines how her administration plans to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) solutions – aligned with D.C.’s values – in government services to better serve Washingtonians.

“We are going to make sure DC is at the forefront of the work to use AI to deliver city services that are responsive, efficient, and proactive,” said Mayor Bowser in a statement.

The DC AI Values Statement and Strategic Plan outlines how Bowser’s administration, alongside the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), will use AI to improve city services, increase efficiency, better manage and analyze data, and create a more effective and inclusive government.

In pursuit of those goals, the mayor’s order outlines the following actions:

  • Convening an AI Taskforce of government personnel to work with agencies to produce key governance policies, procedures, and documents throughout 2024, and to begin a three-year process of helping every agency develop specific AI strategic plans. The taskforce will be overseen and organized by OCTO.
  • Setting AI Benchmarks for District Government by imposing a schedule of deadlines through Fiscal Year 2024 for the creation of core components and planning documents that will shape DC’s AI Strategic Plan. These include plans for AI training at the agency level and processes for ensuring privacy and cybersecurity are preserved as AI technology is deployed by agencies.

A key factor of the plan is to ensure the district government leverages the benefits of the technology in a responsible way that aligns with its values including: Clear Benefit to the People; Safety & Equity; Accountability; Transparency; Sustainability; and Privacy & Cybersecurity.

“With these guiding values, we will make sure that when we use AI, we are responsible, and we use it in a way that aligns with our DC values,” Mayor Bowser said.

According to Bowser’s office these values serve as the cornerstone of implementing AI solutions in District government.

“These values will be weighed whenever AI solutions are proposed and only solutions congruent with all six values will be adopted,” the mayor’s office said.

The plan also calls for the establishment of an advisory group on AI values alignment, which will be comprised of public and government members to ensure public oversight of the District’s AI adoption efforts.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.