California Governor Gavin Newsom signs executive order to study generative AI

The order is aimed at identifying potential risks and use cases for the technology.

PATRICK T. FALLON via Getty Images

The home state of some of the most influential AI companies has a new plan to confront the potential regulation of generative AI. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order instructing agencies in the state to study potential risks and use cases for the technology.

Under the order, state agencies are tasked with identifying “the most significant and beneficial uses of GenAI in the state” and creating frameworks to train state employees on how to use “state-approved” generative AI tools in their work. Likewise, it directs the same agencies to analyze potential negative impacts of the technology, including its effect on vulnerable communities and threats to “critical energy infrastructure” in the state.

The order also lays the groundwork for new partnerships with University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University, which will help study how generative AI is affecting the state’s workers. “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,” Newsom said in a statement. “We recognize both the potential benefits and risks these tools enable.”

As Bloomberg points out, the California order comes ahead of a White House executive order on generative AI expected in the coming months. Leaders of several top AI companies have been meeting with White House officials over the last several months as the administration weighs potential regulations for AI. More than half a dozen companies have already agreed to some safeguards, including new investments in cybersecurity, following those meetings.