The AI Advisory Council: What you need to know

State lawmakers took an important step toward ensuring proper oversight over the use of artificial intelligence by state agencies with the passage this session of House Bill 2060. Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law last week the legislation, authored by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, and sponsored by Sen. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound.

Following the bill signing, Gov. Abbott tweeted that, “As AI becomes more prevalent as a revolutionary tool in our lives and in our workforce, we must ensure that this technology is developed in a responsible and ethical way… To protect Texans’ privacy and basic civil liberties, I signed legislation creating the Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council to study and monitor artificial intelligence systems developed or used by our state agencies. The Council will help cement Texas’ position as a national leader in innovative technology, ensuring our state continues designing and employing the latest and greatest AI technology while prioritizing the security of all Texans.”

While the use of artificial intelligence by state agencies promises to produce efficiencies and streamline administrative tasks, Texas has not yet established a regulatory system to oversee the adoption and implementation of artificial intelligence.

HB 2060 creates a framework for assessing the impact that AI and machine learning technologies have both on state agencies and the citizens those agencies serve. The AI Advisory Council will examine the scope and uses of AI systems across state agencies and make informed decisions about where, and to what extent, AI ought to be used to make decisions with or without human oversight.

The AI Advisory Council: Who gets a seat

The newly established council will call upon the expertise of a professional ethicist and include a total of seven members:

  • One member of the House appointed by the Speaker
  • One member of the Senate appointed by the Lieutenant Governor
  • An executive director (or designee)
  • Four members appointed by the Governor, including:
    • One individual employed by a public or private institution who is an academic professional specializing in ethics
    • One individual employed by a public or private institution who is an academic professional specializing in artificial intelligence
    • One expert on the usage of artificial intelligence systems by law enforcement
    • One constitutional and legal rights expert

One of the primary duties of the AI Advisory Council will be to study the use of AI (or “automated decision systems”) by state agencies and assess the need for a code of ethics to guide the state’s use of AI. By July 1, 2024, every state agency in the executive and legislative branch must submit a report describing any AI systems in use by the agency and any vendors they contract with. Notably, the bill requires that state agencies indicate whether they have subjected the automated decision systems to independent, third party testing or for testing for bias.

A legislative report

By December 2024, the AI Advisory Council will submit a report to the Legislature outlining findings from their study of the AI inventory reports submitted by state agencies. This report will assess the impact the state’s use of AI has had on citizens and make policy recommendations designed to protect Texans from the detrimental impacts of AI, including protecting their privacy interests, ensuring freedom from AI-related discrimination, and promoting an ethical framework for the use of AI by state agencies.

HB 2060 is just one of a handful of future-focused legislation the Legislature enacted this session — from flying vehicles to the Texas Space Commission. An AI Advisory Council will provide some measure of guidance and oversight as the state becomes increasingly reliant on new technologies that have the capacity to complement or replace human decision making.

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