Katy Ruckle represents Washington on a national AI panel

Four people sitting in chairs

WaTech's State Chief Privacy Officer Katy Ruckle was a featured speaker at the recent Route Fifty Innovation Spotlight on June 20, 2024. She joined a panel of state and local government experts to discuss the importance of balancing AI innovation with effective governance, despite the push for rapid adoption.

Since the release of ChatGPT almost two years ago, AI has become a fixture in many people's lives. However, the use of generative AI tools by government workers has prompted states and cities to establish regulations and guidelines. Currently, most states have policies in place for AI use in government, and some have enacted broader legislation covering areas like elections and consumer protections. Despite numerous executive orders, policies, pilot projects, and initial use cases, the pace of progress might seem slow, with new implementations like chatbots and process streamlining appearing less groundbreaking.

Katy discussed Washington's approach following the executive order from Gov. Jay Inslee in late January including issuing interim guidelines for generative AI use. She also highlighted the state's use of existing procedures, such as risk and impact assessments, to evaluate AI's effects on various applications and data privacy.

She emphasized that this cautious approach prevents the government from rushing into AI use without proper safeguards, likening it to "using a car without brakes." She noted that the public expects government to be more careful with AI deployment, especially when handling public data, compared to the private sector.

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