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California rolls out A.I. guidelines in Gov. Newsom executive order

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Wednesday an executive order to study the development, use, and risks of artificial intelligence in California and within state government while educating the public about the technology.

Under the executive order, state agencies and departments are mandated to analyze potential threats to California's energy infrastructure through generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), Newsom's office said.

State agencies will issue general guidelines for the public's use, procurement and training on GenAI based on the executive order, which also requires state departments to make a report on uses of GenAI, as well as potential harms and risks for communities, governments and state government workers in California.

According to Newsom's office, state agencies will train state government workers to use GenAI technology approved by California.

The executive order also pushes for partnerships with the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University to study how California will advance further as the world's AI leader. The directive also encourages the state's engagement with legislative partners and key stakeholders to develop policies on AI deployment.

"This is a potentially transformative technology -- comparable to the advent of the internet -- and we're only scratching the surface of understanding what GenAI is capable of. We recognize both the potential benefits and risks these tools enable. We're neither frozen by the fears nor hypnotized by the upside. We're taking a clear-eyed, humble approach to this world-changing technology," Newsom said in a statement.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, welcomed the governor's executive order, saying California's leadership is "critically important" for responsible AI use.

"I look forward to working with the governor to ensure California leads the nation -- and the world -- on leveraging the benefits of AI while putting in strong safeguards that protect our rights," Dodd said in a statement.

The California Legislature in August adopted an artificial intelligence-drafted resolution authored by Dodd, expressing the state's pledge to examine and implement regulations on AI use. It was the first AI-drafted resolution in the U.S., Dodd's office said.

President Joe Biden discussed the future of AI technology with California Gov. Gavin Newsom and a collective of tech leaders from the Silicon Valley during his visit to the Bay Area in June.

The president pledged to implement safeguards to ensure there are no threats to national security or the economy before AI tools become public. 

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