Virginia governor latest to sign AI executive order

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order outlining how the state will be allowed to use AI inside government agencies and education institutions.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin gives the inaugural address after being sworn in as the 74th governor of Virginia on the steps of the State Capitol on January 15, 2022 in Richmond, Virginia. (Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images)

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a statewide artificial intelligence executive order on Thursday that directing the use of a “roadmap” for government to adopt the rapidly evolving technology.

According to a news release, the state expects to use $600,000 in proposed budgetary funds for AI pilot programs meant to test the efficacy of the standards outlined by the order across the state’s agencies. Virginia agencies and AI suppliers in Virginia are limited to a technology roadmap that lists AI products and their approval classifications. 

The executive order also directs the creation of an AI task force responsible for offering ongoing, biannual recommendations on the order’s standards, educational guidelines and any pilot programs conducted by Virginia’s executive branch agencies.

The order also includes education guidelines that require K-12 and postsecondary institutions to “embrace innovation, experimentation and new educational opportunities for students” while ensuring proper guardrails and constraints to protect data privacy and “mitigate discriminatory outcomes.”


“These standards and guidelines will help provide the necessary guardrails to ensure that AI technology will be safely implemented across all state agencies and departments,” Youngkin said in the news release. “At the same time, we must utilize these innovative technologies to deliver state services more efficiently and effectively.”

The order also requires the Virginia Information Technology Agency, the commonwealth’s statewide IT department, to review all uses of AI. VITA is also responsible for updating the state’s technology roadmap to reflect projected, emerging and approved and prohibited uses of AI. Currently, the agency has only approved automation software from UiPath, which it uses.

The standards do not apply to research and development at public higher education institutions.

The order states that with having “the most critical national security and military intelligence institutions” within the nation, Virginia has a responsibility “to spearhead a policy environment that builds trust, safety and security” for developing and deploying AI. It also notes the state has an opportunity to gather AI experts to provide recommendations and assistance in AI product deployment.

The guidelines for AI integration throughout education state: “[AI] brings tremendous potential to transform education at all levels. By enabling more efficient, universal and deeper learning, AI can unlock new realms of knowledge that were previously unimaginable This emerging technology promises to catalyze business innovation and economic growth for the commonwealth.”


Youngkin’s order follows similar orders in many other states, including California, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

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