OKLAHOMA CITY (OBV) – A task force created by Gov. Kevin Stitt to investigate the benefits and dangers of artificial intelligence (AI) recently released its recommendations on the use of AI and other emerging technologies.
Stitt issued Executive Order 2023-24 in September, ordering the creation of an AI Task Force. He said the task force’s aim would be to investigate how the state could proactively and responsibly implement AI to make Oklahoma more efficient and prepare the workforce for the changes that the growing use of AI would bring about.
“Oklahoma is poised to lead the nation in implementation of artificial intelligence technology, and we have to capitalize on the momentum. Oklahoma truly could be the AI capital of the nation,” Stitt said. “AI also has the potential to help us steward taxpayer dollars in a more responsible way by cutting redundant positions and replacing some positions with AI technology. In Oklahoma, 21% of the workforce is employed by federal, state or local governments while the ideal percentage would be closer to 13%. Artificial intelligence creates possibilities for more efficient employment and government services.”
The task force released their recommendations in late January, saying AI can be used effectively in a wide range of administrative tasks to maximize operational efficiency.
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) can automate administrative tasks, including scheduling, document management, reducing backlogs, and accelerating processes, all while providing analytics and insight into the complex dynamics of state operations to improve the citizen experience,” the report states. “In the State of Oklahoma, the integration of AI into public administration will signal a new era of efficiency and service excellence. AI’s ability to process vast quantities of data transcends human capabilities and would enable state agencies to automate routine tasks, streamline workflows, and liberate valuable human resources for critical thinking and decision-making tasks. For instance, AI can optimize document handling, reducing manual errors and processing times for permits, applications, and other government documents, thereby enhancing the speed and reliability of services offered to the public.”
AI implementation recommendations were organized into two main categories: strategies to support business and strategies to support state agencies.
The task force set the following as the primary goals for using AI to support Oklahoma businesses:
- Enhance Oklahoma’s economy through increased investment in AI infrastructure to stimulate economic growth and technological leadership.
- Ensure AI is implemented ethically by emphasizing transparency, accountability and data protection.
- Implement AI education across K-12 and higher education while investing in workforce retraining programs to prepare current and future generations for an AI-centric job market.
- Support AI innovation by encouraging research and development, fostering new public-private partnerships, and aiding start-ups to make Oklahoma a hub for cutting-edge technological creativity.
“In navigating the realm of AI opportunities in Oklahoma, our task force is committed to a strategic approach that not only evolves operations but also enriches lives,” said Joe McIntosh, state chief information officer and chairman of the AI task force. “Our strategy is centered on investing in our people, fostering innovation and establishing ethical standards to pave the way for a future where AI’s transformative potential benefits every citizen.”
The task force made the following five primary recommendations on implementing AI:
- Create leadership positions within the state, such as establishing a chief artificial intelligence officer.
- Establish an AI oversight committee that incorporates all three branches of government.
- Establish an AI technology economic development task force to leverage Oklahoma’s AI infrastructure.
- Establish an AI digital workforce task force to encourage the existing workforce to incorporate more digital employees.
- Establish an AI technology talent task force to recruit more technologically skilled individuals to Oklahoma.
“Oklahoma has the opportunity to be a national leader in leveraging AI solutions,” said State Chief Operating Officer John Suter. “The governor’s task force made great strides forward during 2023, and we look forward to progressing the framework in 2024 as we evaluate and implement AI investments in intelligent and safe ways.”
Ethical guidelines for AI implementation – including ensuring human oversight and utilizing proper data storage practices – were also recommended.
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems should be designed and operated to respect and enhance human rights, dignity, and values,” the task force report states. “Integrating a deep respect for Human Rights in the domains of AI development and application is pivotal for shaping an ethical framework that guides AI technologies and safeguards the fundamental human values of privacy, equality, and freedom of expression for all Oklahomans. AI, in its rapid evolution, holds immense potential to transform societal structures and individual lives. However, this transformative power also brings the potential for ethical challenges and risks to basic human rights. If AI is not guided by a thoughtful ethical framework, these technologies risk infringing upon human rights, either through intentional design or unintended consequences.”
The task force also identified the state’s strength areas, including its centralized geographic location, energy surpluses and focus on workforce development.
The task force’s full recommendations and supplemental recommendations are shared below.