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Shapiro Administration partners with OpenAI

Gov. Josh Shapiro and OpenAI, a leading artificial intelligence research and deployment company, announced recently Pennsylvania’s Office of Administration will lead a first-of-its-kind pilot program of ChatGPT Enterprise, a keystone OpenAI product featuring enhanced cybersecurity measures, to help commonwealth employees understand where and how generative AI tools can be safely and securely leveraged in their daily operations.

The pilot is the commonwealth’s first-ever use of generative AI tools for state government employees and its findings will help guide the wider integration of this technology into state government operations to enhance productivity and empower the commonwealth’s workforce, a news release states.

The pilot also represents OpenAI’s first-ever agreement with a state entity.

“I believe Pennsylvania can be a national leader in the safe and responsible use of generative AI in our government operations, and this first-in-the-nation pilot with OpenAI will help us safely and securely learn from and use this important technology to serve Pennsylvanians and empower our workforce,” Shapiro said.

“Generative AI is here and impacting our daily lives already, and my administration is taking a proactive approach to harness the power of its benefits while mitigating its potential risks.

“By establishing a generative AI Governing Board within my administration and partnering with universities that are national leaders in developing and deploying AI, we have already leaned into innovation to ensure our commonwealth approaches generative AI use responsibly and ethically to capitalize on opportunity.”

Immediately following the announcement, the governor met with senior OpenAI executives to emphasize his approach to responsible generative AI as a tool to enhance commonwealth employees’ jobs.

The new pilot program will help employees explore use cases for generative AI that can be incorporated into their service to Pennsylvanians.

While the pilot will help commonwealth employees improve customer experience and outcomes for Pennsylvanians, no Pennsylvanian will interact directly with ChatGPT in any way when they interact with the commonwealth.

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI also commented.

“Pennsylvania is the first state in the nation to pilot ChatGPT Enterprise for its workforce,” Altman said. “This initiative showcases Pennsylvania’s commitment to innovation, led by the strength of the state’s diverse communities and dynamic economy.

“Our collaboration with Gov. Shapiro and the Pennsylvania team will provide valuable insights into how AI tools can responsibly enhance state services.”

The ChatGPT Enterprise pilot began this month and is initially limited to the employees who will use the tool for tasks such as creating and editing copy, making outdated policy language more accessible, drafting job descriptions to help with recruitment and hiring, addressing duplication and conflicting guidance within hundreds of thousands of pages of employee policy, helping employees generate code, and more.

Employees will receive individual support and guidance on how they should use the tool and will also provide continuous feedback to the pilot team to help the commonwealth determine future best uses.

An additional 100 licenses will eventually be available to non-OA agency employees for shorter periods of time after initial feedback and findings from OA employees are gathered.

The enterprise version of ChatGPT has additional security, privacy and management features not found in the consumer version.

As such, no inputs, feedback or data input by the commonwealth into the tool will be used to train ChatGPT or future products from OpenAI.

The added cybersecurity measures also ensure no data of any kind is shared between agencies or separate commonwealth entities.

Employees may not use any sensitive information, including any Pennsylvanian’s personally identifiable information, when using ChatGPT for day-to-day operations.

The pilot program was recommended by the Generative AI Governing Board, which makes recommendations for generative AI policy, procurement, development and deployment based on the core values of accuracy, adaptability, employee empowerment, equity and fairness, innovation, mission alignment, privacy, proportionality, safety and security and transparency.

Office of Administration Secretary Neil Weaver, chairman of the Generative AI Governing Board, commented.

“Our goal with the pilot is to work closely with a small number of employees to figure out where we can have the greatest impact using generative AI tools,” Weaver said. “Their input will help us understand the practical applications of generative AI in their daily work and how we can best support our workforce as the technology becomes more widespread.”

OA will use lessons learned from the pilot to identify other state government jobs that could benefit most from using generative AI.

The pilot will also provide greater insight into the capabilities and limitations of generative AI tools and inform the development of employee training and resource needs.

Chief Information Officer Amaya Capellán also commented.

“This pilot program is part of our commitment to embrace generative AI in a way that empowers our workforce to excel,” Capellán said. “It is a critical first step in the Shapiro administration’s goal to be a proactive leader in the adoption of generative AI to improve how we operate and deliver services to Pennsylvanians.”

The implementation of the pilot program comes after Shapiro signed an executive order in September 2023 to establish responsible standards and a governance framework for generative AI use for commonwealth employees.

In addition to collaboration with OpenAI, OA will collaborate with leading generative AI experts and researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University Block Center for Technology and Society throughout the pilot.

Steve Wray, executive director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Block Center for Technology and Society, addressed the collaboration.

“The Block Center for Society and Technology at Carnegie Mellon University is honored and eager to help guide the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the adaptation and responsible use of emerging Artificial Intelligence tools for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians,” Wray said. “We applaud the Shapiro administration for being willing to learn and engage with our faculty experts as these tools are developed, and we look forward to our continued partnership.”