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Maryland governor signs executive order guiding AI use

Gov. Wes Moore
Gov. Wes Moore

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Monday announced a starting point for addressing the use of artificial intelligence in state government, as well as efforts to bolster cybersecurity.

The governor signed an executive order that he described as setting fundamental principles and values “to ensure that we integrate AI into the work of state government in a responsible and ethical way.”

“These announcements mark the beginning of our work, not the end, and we look forward to partnering with the General Assembly to move forward on legislation centered on AI," Moore, a Democrat, said at a news conference, two days before the legislature gathers for its annual 90-day session.

The quickly developing technology has been getting the attention of state lawmakers around the country.

Moore said the words AI and cyber can scare some people.

“Here’s the thing: This technology is already here, the only question is whether we are going to be reactive or proactive in this moment," Moore said. "Our administration will always choose to lead.”

Moore compared the initiatives to getting a software update on a cellphone in a quickly changing world.

“I think about it this way, my iPhone asks me to update it like every eight weeks, but we have not updated the way that government works in the past eight years," the governor said. "How can we win the next decade if the tools that the have to win the decade are the tools from last decade?”

The order emphasizes the need for fairness and equity in the state's use of AI, saying state agencies “must take into account the fact that AI systems can perpetuate harmful biases, and take steps to mitigate those risks."

The order also says the state is committed to exploring ways AI can be leveraged to improve state services. It also underscores that individuals' privacy rights “should be preserved by design in the State’s use of AI, while ensuring that data creation, collection, and processing are secure and in line with all applicable laws and regulations.”

The order creates an AI subcabinet that will develop a plan to create appropriate guardrails for agencies’ use of AI.

“We look forward to working with all of our agencies to ensure responsible and productive use of AI in Maryland," said Maryland Department of Information Technology Secretary Katie Savage. "The (executive order) is just the first step in what will undoubtedly be a longer journey for the Moore-Miller administration in close partnership with the General Assembly to govern and leverage AI.”

The order was one of several initiatives outlined by the governor.

Moore also announced the establishment of the Maryland Cybersecurity Task Force, which he said will bring together cybersecurity experts from the state's information technology department, the Maryland Military Department and the Maryland Department of Emergency Management. They will work with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security to foster a whole-of-government approach cybersecurity in the state.

Moore also announced other technology-related initiatives, including a new Maryland Digital Service. The new team will support website and application redesigns.

Moore also announced a new digital accessibility policy, which will ensure equal access to state-procured and developed information technology and services for state residents.