Texas Establishes Landmark Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council

The new seven-member AI Advisory Council will help "cement Texas’ position as a national leader in innovative technology," said Governor Abbott, who signed the bill creating the committee last month.

Texas’ first Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council is taking shape, following Governor Greg Abbott’s signing of House Bill 2060 last month. The bill—ushered through the legislative process by State Representative Giovanni Capriglione and Senator Tan Parker—establishes the council. According to the Office of the Governor, it’s a milestone that strengthens the Lone Star State as a leading destination for next-gen tech in America.

“As AI becomes more prevalent as a revolutionary tool in our lives and in our workforce, we must ensure that this technology is developed in a responsible and ethical way in Texas to help boost our state’s growing economy,” said Governor Abbott in a statement.

Texas’ proactive move comes as the United Nations’ call for member states to implement AI safeguards and Nvidia’s release of NeMo Guardrails software, with a specific focus on “ensuring bots are ‘safe and secure.'”

Seven members will be appointed to the Texas AI Advisory Council

Governor Abbott will name seven members to the AI Advisory Council to study and monitor AI technology as it’s developed, employed, or procured by Texas state agencies. The council will provide “additional oversight” of AI systems’ responsible and ethical development to protect privacy and civil liberties.

Comprised of public and state-appointed figures, the council will blend different perspectives on AI and its implications.

Four public members will include two academics—one an ethics expert, the other an AI systems specialist —a law enforcement representative and a constitutional rights expert. Additionally, the Council will comprise the Department of Information Resources executive director, and one member each from the Texas House and Senate. 

Among its tasks, the council will assess the need for a state code of ethics for AI in state government, review automated decision systems, evaluate potential benefits and risks of implementing automated decision items, and recommend administrative actions state agencies may take.

According to Capriglione, the council’s first meeting of the council will be Nov. 1.

AI benefits and risks

In an interview with the Texas Standard, Representative Capriglione said we need to understand the technology’s benefits and the risks and pitfalls that come with it, including how it impacts the workforce, for instance. 

The representative, who has a background in IT, said “traditionally technology has … disrupted lower-skilled employees. But with high-tech artificial intelligence systems, we’re looking at mid-to-high-level skilled individuals who are going to be displaced by this.”

But, he told the publication, Texas has become “the place for tech companies to seek to relocate … I think we can lead not just on artificial intelligence, but data, algorithms that are used.”

The council’s work will help solidify Texas as a leader in the tech space, Governor Abbott says.

“The council will help cement Texas’ position as a national leader in innovative technology, ensuring our state continues designing and employing the latest and greatest AI technology while prioritizing the security of all Texans,” he said.

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