RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Gov. Glenn Youngkin has directed his administration to take a closer look at artificial intelligence, including whether more rules are needed to rein it in and how Virginia can use — and profit off — the developing technology.

Youngkin (R) signed an executive directive Wednesday ordering his administration to focus on four areas concerning AI technology “to ensure the responsible, ethical and transparent use” by the state’s government.  

Under the directive, Virginia’s Office of Regulatory Management, established by Youngkin last year, will review the legal requirements of AI use under Virginia law, develop policy standards for state agencies, establish safeguards and find ways for schools and industries to use AI.

“While the nation seeks to understand and adapt to this fast-moving technology, the Commonwealth urgently needs standards and protocols to frame the adaptation of AI across state government,” the directive reads. “Virginia must proactively and deliberatively prepare for this transformative technology to take advantage of the benefits while mitigating the risks.”

The directive points to AI’s potential to boost productivity and change how people, industries and government work.

But it also notes the “significant challenges” it could pose, including privacy concerns, possible job displacement and its impact on education. The directive says that while federal and state policymakers are working to understand AI and set guardrails, “the pace is too slow.”  

The regulatory management office, in consultation with the chief information officer of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, the attorney general’s office and relevant secretariats, will review existing privacy, intellectual property and other laws that apply to AI to determine if any changes are needed.

The regulatory office will also recommend standards that govern AI use across all state agencies and offices, including “when and how AI can be used with state government, such as requiring disclaimers and approval processes.”

The directive requires the regulatory office to work with the state’s education department, universities and colleges to create a plan to promote guidelines for AI tools that impact learning and “prohibit cheating on schoolwork.” The plan must also review how AI tools could be used for personalized tutoring, especially in K-12 schools.

The directive calls for plans to see how AI can help with economic, education and workforce development, with goals that include making sure students have the skills and knowledge of AI to help them prepare for future career opportunities and find industries that could benefit from AI.

Other goals listed in the directive include:

  • Identify opportunities for secure and transparent AI use to make state government operations more efficient and effective
  • Develop strategies to support workers impacted by AI
  • Explore ways to encourage AI innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Assess the risks and opportunities for Virginia’s labor market
  • Support the opportunities for colleges and universities to contribute to AI research and training in Virginia

The directive requires the regulatory management office to complete the steps laid out by the governor and provide recommendations by Dec. 15.