The Promise of AI in California Government

Technology is transforming how humans and machines work together. In particular, Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform government beyond our imagination, enabling greater efficiency while improving the accuracy and effectiveness of decision-making and promoting equity in service delivery.

Although we may not pay attention to it, AI surrounds us. Your iPhone is AI-enabled with SIRI; Roomba vacuums your floors, Amazon places your orders, and AI predicts the spread of COVID-19. It is apparent the technology has already taken root in the private sector. What about its use in government?

Since Artificial Intelligence and AI-enabled tools offer unprecedented gains in the effort to transform the nature and scale of government work and services, the California Department of Technology (CDT) embarked on an initiative to promote a strategy and standard approach for implementing AI within state government. Aware of the pitfalls that can be inherent in its use, the state will implement AI and AI-enabled tools in a responsible and ethical manner.


California’s AI initiative has three primary objectives.

1. The initiative must demonstrate how AI can improve California’s delivery of digital services.  This is the area of focus in fall 2020 with an intent to help state government entities become
aware of AI’s value in service delivery.

As part of the initiative, the AI Community of Practice launched its first quarterly meeting with a presentation, “What is AI?”  The session discussed various AI portfolio technologies                  and examined the basic nature of AI: what it can do and what it cannot do.

Another part of the initiative saw CDT partner with the CITRIS Policy Lab and AI Security Initiative at UC Berkeley to develop a report with the working title, Recommendations to
Guide California’s AI Strategy,
scheduled for release in early December 2020.

2. The initiative must provide a strategy and guidelines that cover the ethical and responsible use of AI.

This second focus is scheduled to begin in winter 2020-2021 and will key in on measures to implement AI ethically. The AI Community of Practice will develop a state AI Framework   and
Strategy along with applicable AI policies, if needed.

3. The initiative must provide a practical and pragmatic approach to implementing AI technology.

Spring 2021 is when the focus will turn toward hands-on deliverables such as playbooks, an AI Vendor Pool and training and education sessions to help drive AI adoption.