Rhode Island Sets AI Task Force, Data Hub


Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee has issued an executive order (EO) establishing an AI task force and data center of excellence, aiming to explore AI’s potential to enhance state government operations and services for the public while preparing for AI’s integration into the private sector.

“Rhode Island recognizes that the rise of AI technology will enhance future government operations and change the way we do business,” said Gov. McKee. “Rather than simply react to the changes in the information technology landscape, I want Rhode Island to be a leader as this field evolves. This executive order is the first step in being proactive and preparing state government for this new technology.”

Former Congressman Jim Langevin will chair the task force, which will evaluate the risks and opportunities of AI advancement and provide guidance to policymakers. Task force membership will be drawn from stakeholders in both the private and public sectors.

“As this technology continues to rapidly advance, the bodies created by this executive order will ensure that our government does not lag behind,” said Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos. “I look forward to working with the government, business, and nonprofit leaders who are joining this effort to seize the new and exciting opportunities that AI technology presents.”

The task force, housed within the Department of Administration and collaborating with Rhode Island College’s Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies, will develop a state code of ethics for AI and anticipate future trends in the field. The EO also calls on the state’s Departments of Labor and Training, Education, and Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (OPC) to collaborate on training development and education opportunities for the use of current and emerging AI tools, both for state workers and students.

The Data Center of Excellence was also established under Rhode Island’s new EO and aims to enhance data operations and management by facilitating collaboration among state leaders for data-driven decision-making.

A statewide federated data platform will streamline data access and utilization, drawing from existing systems such as the Data Ecosystem at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and Rhode Island Longitudinal Data System at OPC.

“Being able to readily connect and analyze data across state programs will afford us better insights on the effects programs have on Rhode Island communities and will enable state leaders to make more data-driven decisions,” said Department of Administration Director Jonathan Womer. “Having better data and data infrastructure will also put government in a better position to evaluate how AI can most benefit state workers and the public, and it’s important that we take a measured, responsible approach to both data infrastructure development and AI.”

The EO also creates the position of chief data office within Rhode Island’s Enterprise Technology Strategy and Services Division, underscoring the commitment to data security and privacy.

“When it comes to technology, data security and individual privacy continue to be our top priorities,” said Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information Officer Brian Tardiff. “By making our first order of business the crafting of a State Code of Ethics for this work, we are ensuring a human-centric focus that minimizes bias and maximizes support and resources.”