IE11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

San Jose Welcomes Participation in AI Coalition

San Jose has announced several steps to shape AI governance, including an open letter to stakeholders, a resource toolkit and an invitation to participate in its growing GovAI Coalition.

The city of San Jose is calling for participation in its growing coalition of public servants to collaborate on artificial intelligence governance.

The municipality was an early adopter of guidelines on generative AI last year, and has been working to become a leader in this area by creating an AI-friendly environment.

It initially launched the GovAI Coalition, made up of more than 400 public servants from more than 150 agencies, in November to help create responsible AI standards for government. Now, the city is encouraging other organizations to join and share information in the process of shaping AI governance.

The coalition is currently led by the city of San Jose Information Technology Department (ITD) in partnership with civic agencies across the nation, including Austin, Cleveland and the city and county of San Diego. It meets virtually on a monthly basis, San Jose spokesperson Chelsea Palacio told Government Technology via email, though its committees may meet more or less frequently — anywhere from weekly to quarterly. The first meeting that will be open to academia and the private sector will be the GovAI Coalition Forum, scheduled for 1 p.m. March 27.

“I am excited to see our staff and the coalition continue to lead and engage in discussions around the use of AI in government,” Khaled Tawfik, San Jose chief information officer and ITD director, said in a LinkedIn post Thursday.

In an effort to lead the responsible adoption and implementation of AI governance and use, the coalition released an open letter and a resource toolkit last week.

Use of the toolkit is a priority for the coalition as governments implement AI solutions to improve government services. It includes policy templates developed to align with national standards such as the federal executive order on AI signed in October. The templates are for AI policy, AI incident response planning, vendor agreements and other topics.

Notably, the toolkit is available for use by all agencies regardless of their membership in the GovAI Coalition, Palacio said: “Sharing this toolkit means that all agencies can conduct AI governance activities from a shared foundation.”

The open letter, dated March 13, addresses the public, policymakers and industry partners. It outlines the coalition’s priorities, the deliverables offered in the toolkit and a request for feedback from policymakers. It also calls on industry leaders to commit to responsible AI practices as outlined in the letter.

Tawfik said in the announcement that the city received an overwhelming response from other government agencies upon the release of its AI guidelines, demonstrating the need for a collaborative approach.

“The AI models we use are the same that every city in the country might use, so it was clear that we needed a coalition to consolidate our intention and influence on the global AI developers,” he said.

Public agencies — including school districts, public universities and water districts — can join the coalition as members with voting rights, Palacio said. Only government agencies will have voting rights and board member eligibility, but representatives from government, academia and the private sector are able to join. Coalition meetings are open to anyone. More information about joining the coalition can be found on the city’s website.

This article first appeared in Government Technology, sister publication to Industry Insider — California.


San Jose
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.