Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee has signed a new executive order (EO) that established an AI task force and data center of excellence.

McKee’s office said that through the creation of these new bodies, the McKee Administration is looking to explore how AI can create efficiencies within state government operations, enhance services provided to the public, and prepare the state to responsibly support the advancement of this technology in Rhode Island’s private sector.

AI Task Force

“Rhode Island recognizes that the rise of AI technology will enhance future government operations and change the way we do business,” said McKee. “Rather than simply react to the changes in the information technology landscape, I want Rhode Island to be a leader as this field evolves. This executive order is the first step in being proactive and preparing state government for this new technology.”

The Task Force will be chaired by former Congressman Jim Langevin, who Is also leading Rhode Island College’s new Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies. Once underway, the task force will assess the risks and opportunities presented by the advancement of AI and advise state policymakers. Membership will include stakeholders from Rhode Island’s public and private sectors.

“Artificial intelligence is a powerful tool, and the steps our administration is taking today will prepare Rhode Island to use it effectively and responsibly,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “As this technology continues to rapidly advance, the bodies created by this executive order will ensure that our government does not lag behind. I look forward to working with the government, business, and nonprofit leaders who are joining this effort to seize the new and exciting opportunities that AI technology presents.”

The task force will be housed in the Rhode Island Department of Administration and will work in collaboration with Rhode Island College’s Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies. The task force will need to create a state code of ethics for AI and predict future trends in the field.

Under the leadership of the Department of Administration, the Center of Excellence for AI, consulting with the Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies, will be tasked with creating a state code of ethics for AI and predicting future trends in the field.

Data Center of Excellence

The Data Center of Excellence is intended to promote the advancement of enhanced data operations and management with the goal of giving state leaders increased opportunities to collaborate on data analysis and data-driven decision-making.

The EO also creates a statewide, federated data platform that will make it easier to access and use data and leverage best practices from existing data systems, such as the Data Ecosystem at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and Rhode Island Longitudinal Data System at the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (OPC).

“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,” said Department of Administration Director Jonathan Womer. “Having better data and data infrastructure will also put government in a better position to evaluate how AI can most benefit state workers and the public, and it’s important that we take a measured, responsible approach to both data infrastructure development and AI.”

With the EO, Rhode Island will now have a chief data office position within the state’s Enterprise Technology Strategy and Services (ETSS) Division to oversee the Data Center for Excellence.

“When it comes to technology, data security, and individual privacy continue to be our top priorities,” said Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information Officer Brian Tardiff. “By making our first order of business the crafting of a State Code of Ethics for this work, we are ensuring a human-centric focus that minimizes bias and maximizes support and resources.”

Additionally, under the EO, the Department of Labor and Training (DLT), the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), and OPC are tasked with collaborating on training development and education opportunities for the use of current and emerging AI tools, both for state workers and students.

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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