New California legislation is taking important steps to ensure government use of AI is fair, accountable, and transparent.

CITRIS Policy Lab
Apr 29 · 3 min read

The California Legislature is considering a bill that will set standards for accountability, privacy, and mitigating bias in government use of AI.

The California Legislature recently passed AB-976, establishing the Artificial Intelligence in State Government Services Commission to oversee use of AI in government services. It’s now considering AB-459, a bill that will set standards for accountability, privacy, and mitigating bias in government use of AI.

Brandie Nonnecke, Founding Director of the CITRIS Policy Lab, provided comments on AB-459 “State government: Artificial Intelligence in State Government Services Commission: report” to the California Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee on Wed., April 24, 2019. Her comments are included below.

Brandie Nonnecke, Director of the CITRIS Policy Lab, provides testimony on AB-459 “State government: Artificial Intelligence in State Government Services Commission: report” to the California Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee on Wed., April 24, 2019.

Thank you for inviting me to testify today. My name is Brandie Nonnecke. I work for the University of California as a director and researcher in an interdisciplinary, multi-campus research unit, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute. CITRIS stands for the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.

The views I’m expressing today on AB-459 are my own and are not that of the University of California. However, I would like to acknowledge and give credit to the lawmakers here today, and all of them in our state legislature, who value data-driven policymaking. They, in fact, allow the University of California to fulfill its mission as the research arm for the state of California by continuing to provide robust state support. Thank you for your support of the University of California. Your support enables us to support you, as you grapple with many challenging issues.

It is well understood that AI-enabled decision-making is taking on a more central role in core social institutions. Automated decision systems have made their way into our healthcare facilities, courthouses, and employment offices, influencing decisions on who receives health insurance, who receives parole, and who receives a job offer.

While the application of AI-enabled tools can provide great gains in efficiency, effectiveness, and equity, ill-considered designs and applications carry great risk of perpetuating inequality and deepening disparities.

We are at a pivotal moment. The decisions we make today on how to oversee government use of AI will have long-term effects on whether all Californians are able to benefit from the profound changes AI will bring.

California is a global leader in AI, home to many of the world’s leading AI companies and researchers from not only the technical fields of AI, but also the social sciences and humanities that have thought critically about the social, political, and economic impacts of AI.

Strengthening multi-stakeholder collaboration among government, industry, academia, and the public is necessary to ensure we are able to harness the power of AI in ways that foster accountability, prioritize safety and security, protect privacy, and monitor impacts.

The establishment of the Artificial Intelligence in State Government Services Commission through AB-976 and standards of government use of AI outlined in AB-459, the focus of our convening today, are important steps to ensuring that we collaboratively move principles of responsible AI development to standards that inform sound practices that maximize the benefit of AI for all Californians.


The CITRIS Policy Lab, part of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, supports interdisciplinary research, education, and thought leadership to address core questions regarding the role of formal and informal regulation in promoting innovation and amplifying its positive effects on society.

CITRISPolicyLab

TECHNOLOGY POLICY RESEARCH & ENGAGEMENT IN THE INTEREST OF SOCIETY

CITRIS Policy Lab

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The CITRIS Policy Lab supports interdisciplinary tech policy research and engagement in the interest of society. citrispolicylab.org

CITRISPolicyLab

TECHNOLOGY POLICY RESEARCH & ENGAGEMENT IN THE INTEREST OF SOCIETY

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