California Issues Guidelines for Adopting and Using AI

By Published On: March 21, 2024

The California Departments of Technology (CDT) and General Services (DGS) issued new guidelines on Wednesday for the procurement and use of artificial intelligence (AI) within state government operations following Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-12-23, which was released last fall.

California “recognizes that Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) technologies can create potential benefits for Californians, but its adoption must be carefully monitored through a robust combination of technology policies and risk management frameworks,” says Technology Letter 24-01, released on March 21. 

The new policies set a framework for state departments to evaluate, acquire, and implement generative AI technologies — those capable of creating text, video, or images. They will become effective on March 21, 2024, with full implementation required by April 30, 2024, according to a broadcast bulletin from DGS (see 2024 Policy Bulletins).

“At this time, the procurement requirements are applicable to NEW solicitations for the purchase of information technology (IT) goods and services, non-IT services, and non-IT goods,” says the bulletin. 

State departments and agencies are required to undertake risk assessments and make a business case before adopting AI solutions, overseen by the CIO or a senior department official, who will manage the procurement and application of AI technologies, according to the guidance. 

Government Operations Agency Secretary Amy Tong told the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported the news on Wednesday, that departments and agencies are individually responsible for making AI-related decisions.  

Last fall, the GovOps Agency issued an extensive 34-page report delving into the risks and rewards of integrating GenAI into the state’s governmental framework.

Several measures are pending the Legislature that aim to regulate the use of artificial intelligence, including:

  • Senate Bill 1047 by Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) would enact the Safe and Secure Innovation for Frontier Artificial Intelligence Systems Act.
  • Senate Bill 896  by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) “builds upon recent AI directives from President Joe Biden and Gov. Gavin Newsom to encourage innovation while ensuring the rights and opportunities of all Californians are protected,” according to the author.
  • Senate Bill 892 by Senator Steve Padilla (D-San Diego) would require the Department of Technology (CDT) to establish safety, privacy, and nondiscrimination standards relating to AI services and prevent related contracts unless they comply with such standards.
  • Senate Bill 893 by Senator Steve Padilla (D-San Diego) would establish the California Artificial Intelligence Research Hub within the Government Operations Agency.
  • Assembly Bill 2930 by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) aims to regulate Automated Decision Systems (ADS) by assessing and eliminating algorithmic bias.

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