Governor Healey Signs Executive Order Establishing Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategic Task Force

Published by Commonwealth of Massachusetts on February 14, 2024

Governor to seek $100 million in upcoming Economic Development Bill to create Applied AI Hub in Massachusetts

BOSTON — Today, Governor Maura Healey signed an Executive Order establishing the Artificial Intelligence Strategic Task Force to study AI and Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) technology and its impact on the state, private businesses, higher education institutions, and constituents. The Task Force will conduct outreach and collect input from stakeholders and experts, advise the Governor and executive branch on the state’s role in AI implementation, and find ways to encourage leading industries to adopt this technology to ensure continued success.  

The mission of the Task Force is to create specific recommendations for how the state can best support the state’s businesses in leading sectors around AI adoption. It will also produce recommendations focused on startups’ ability to scale and succeed in Massachusetts. 

“Massachusetts has the opportunity to be a global leader in Applied AI – but it’s going to take us bringing together the brightest minds in tech, business, education, health care and government. That’s exactly what this task force will do,” said Governor Maura Healey. “Members of the task force will collaborate on strategies that keep us ahead of the curve by leveraging AI and GenAI technology, which will bring significant benefit to our economy and communities across the state.”  

“Our administration acknowledges AI as a transformative technology set to influence various aspects of our nation’s economy,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “This Task Force will position Massachusetts as a hub for talent and business excellence, as we examine economic shifts driven by AI with the goal of establishing our state as a global leader in its effective and responsible utilization.”  

AI is a machine-based system that can, for a given set of human objectives, make predictions, recommendations, or decisions. GenAI as used in this Order, is a type of artificial intelligence technology that can generate many forms of content including but not limited to texts, images, and multimedia. 

The Task Force will have subject-specific working groups that will create recommendations to leverage AI in leading sectors, such as education, healthcare, life sciences, robotics, and financial services. The launch of the Task Force delivers on a commitment from the Administration’s Economic Development Plan, Team MA: Leading Future Generations.   

The AI Strategic Task Force consists of 26 individuals representing members of the business community, higher education institutions, and state and local government. The Secretaries of Executive Office of Economic Development (EOED) and the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) will serve as state co-chairs. Mike Milligan of the UMass system and Santiago Garces of Boston will serve as cochairs from the academic community and local government.  

“Massachusetts is the great state that it is because of our ability to harness the ingenuity and knowledge of our greatest natural resource, our residents,” said Senate President Karen Spilka. “As technology enters its next era, that of Artificial Intelligence, I commend the Governor and the Administration for putting together some of our brightest minds in various cross sectors of the Commonwealth to help us reap AI’s great potential and position Massachusetts to be a global leader in the technology.”    

“Artificial intelligence is already changing aspects of daily life and the world around us, which is why it’s critical that we ensure that the Commonwealth’s businesses are well prepared for that transition, and that Massachusetts is positioned to benefit from the growth of emerging technologies related to AI,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano. “The House looks forward to reviewing any recommendations made by the task force, as we work to better understand the impact that AI will have on our economy, schools, and on the Commonwealth as a whole.” 

“Technology is critical to delivering services and connecting residents in Boston and across Massachusetts to opportunity,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “As we continue to address our most urgent challenges, it’s essential to understand the opportunities, key questions, and impact of AI. I look forward to the leadership of this task force and partnering with the Healey administration and all sectors to grow our strongest economy and community.” 

“Massachusetts leads in adopting innovative technology, and we are proactively embracing the emerging field of AI,” said Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao. “The AI Strategic Task Force shows our Administration’s commitment to collaboratively advance AI development and adoption. Our goal is not only to propel the growth of AI, but to employ it to stimulate job creation, elevate our state’s economy, and lengthen our lead in key sectors.”  

“We have the conditions in place here in Massachusetts to cement our standing as the hub of AI and emerging technology in the future,” said Secretary of Technology Services and Security and State Chief Information Officer Jason Snyder. “Today’s executive order recognizes the urgent need for the state to engage with AI now, with the understanding that we do our best work together, with state policy leaders, the innovation industry, and higher education all at the table. We are working on projects that capitalize on this rich ecosystem to move our entire state forward.” 

“This new partnership with Northeastern University is an exciting opportunity for the state to leverage the strength of our higher education system to test ways that generative artificial intelligence can improve the efficiency and accessibility of state services. AI represents a unique and promising new frontier for Massachusetts, but it’s going to take all of us working together through initiatives like this to realize its full potential and do so with the proper safeguards in place,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Matthew J. Gorzkowicz. 

Governor Healey will seek $100 million in her upcoming economic development legislation to create an Applied AI Hub in Massachusetts. The funding will be used for a capital grant program to support the adoption and application of AI capabilities to solve public policy problems and to advance the state’s lead in technology sectors, including life sciences, healthcare, financial services, advanced manufacturing, robotics and education. Subject to the legislative process, this capital fund will position the state to act on the strategic goals and priorities of the AI Strategic Task Force established by this Executive Order and will focus on capital expenses related to the incubation of AI firms, adoption of AI technologies and the development of AI software and hardware technology development and commercialization. The Governor’s recently filed FutureTech Act includes a $25 million authorization for IT capital AI projects within the Executive Branch. 

In addition, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance (A&F) and EOTSS have announced a partnership with Northeastern on InnovateMA, a collaboration between higher ed and the Healey-Driscoll administration to leverage AI across state government. Northeastern co-ops have started assisting the state with implementing an AI solution in the following use cases: 

  • Policy Hub: Create a tool for MassHealth call center staff to more efficiently navigate policy documents needed for beneficiary customer support. 
  • Resource Gateway: Create a tool for MassDOT’s Highway Division engineers to more efficiently navigate the large quantity of Standard Operating Procedure’s governing highway projects. 
  • User Navigation: Create a tool for the riders and potential riders of the MBTA RIDE paratransit service to better understand how to access services. 
  • Grant opportunities: Predict grant program eligibility for potential applicants within the suite of grants offered by agencies and programs under the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (e.g. farmers impacted by floods).  

Members of AI Strategic Task Force 

  • Secretary Yvonne Hao, EOED (Co-Chair) 
  • Secretary Jason Snyder, EOTSS (Co-Chair) 
  • Mike Milligan, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, University of Massachusetts (Co-Chair) 
  • Santiago Garces, Chief Information Officer, City of Boston (Co-Chair) 
  • Erica Bradshaw, Chief Technology Officer, Harvard 
  • Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Massachusetts House of Representatives 
  • Usama Fayyad, Professor and Executive Director, Institute for Experiential AI, Northeastern 
  • Patricia Geli, Co-founder, C10 Labs/MIT 
  • Segun Idowu, Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion, City of Boston 
  • Dr. Robert Johnson, President, Western New England University 
  • Meghan Joyce, CEO and Founder, Duckbill 
  • Chrissy Lynch, President, AFL-CIO
  • Patrick Larkin, Deputy Director, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative 
  • Jeffrey Leiden, Executive Chairman, Vertex Pharmaceuticals 
  • Spyros Matsoukas, Vice President and Distinguished Scientist of AI, Amazon 
  • Vipin Mayar, Executive Vice President, Head of AI Innovation, Fidelity 
  • Sears Merritt, Head of Enterprise Technology and Experience, MassMutual 
  • Armen Mkrtchyan, Origination Partner, Flagship Pioneering 
  • Senator Michael Moore, Massachusetts Senate 
  • Jane Moran, Chief Information and Digital Officer, Mass General Brigham 
  • Ed Park, Co-Founder and CEO, Devoted Health 
  • Rudina Seseri, Founder and Managing Partner, Glasswing 
  • Soundar Srinivasan, Director, AI Program, Microsoft New England 
  • Fernanda Viegas, Principal Scientist and Co-Lead of People + AI Research (PAIR), Google 
  • Grace Wang, President, Worcester Polytechnic Institute  
  • Jeremy Wertheimer, Visiting Scientist, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard  

The Task Force will begin its work in February and present final recommendations to the Governor later this year. InnovateMA began its work in mid-January and the pilot will conclude in July.  

Statements of Support 

Dr. Joseph Aoun, President, Northeastern University: 
“As the AI revolution promises to transform our economy and society as a whole, I want to thank Governor Healey for her leadership in convening this important task force. By harnessing some of the best minds from academia, industry and government, we can ensure that Massachusetts will maintain its edge in key sectors such as health care, biotech, and higher education. Northeastern stands ready to play an essential role in this effort.” 

Mohamad Ali, Chief Operating Officer, IBM Consulting: 

“As IBM continues to build secure and safe generative AI in Cambridge, we applaud Governor Healey’s Executive Order on AI and the creation of the AI Task Force in Massachusetts. When governments prioritize responsibility and safety, consumers across the state will be able to benefit from this powerful technology.”  

Jane Moran, Chief Information and Digital Officer, Mass General Brigham: 

“As a hub of innovation in technology and healthcare, Massachusetts is uniquely positioned to be a global leader in applying artificial intelligence to power future discovery and progress in medicine. I am thrilled to be able to contribute to the important work of this task force, including insights from Mass General Brigham’s innovative application of AI to drive advances in research and empower clinicians to improve patient care.” 

Michael P. Milligan, Vice President & UMass System CIO: 

“Artificial Intelligence has a profound impact on our lives right now, and that impact is going to rapidly grow in the years ahead.  Whether it’s the way students learn, faculty teach and conduct research, or how we manage our resources, AI is going to transform higher education. I am grateful that Gov. Healey and Secretaries Snyder and Hao have provided UMass this opportunity to contribute to the AI Task Force. I look forward to working with leaders throughout the Commonwealth to ensure that the power of AI is used for positive purposes.”, 

Beth Noveck, Professor and Director of the Burnes Center for Social Change at Northeastern University: 

“When used responsibility, AI is making it faster and easier to solve our most challenging public problems. InnovateMA provides an extraordinary opportunity to use AI coupled with community engagement to make government services and programs work better for all of our residents, while taking advantage and investing in our pipeline of talent in Massachusetts. We are grateful to Governor Healey for her partnership and leadership in recognizing the potential of AI for good.”   

Spyros Matsoukas, Vice President and Distinguished Scientist of AI, Amazon: 

“We are committed to unlocking the potential of generative AI alongside the Massachusetts AI Task Force, with a focus on identifying opportunities for innovation and supporting training and education initiatives. Our involvement in the Task Force is one of the many steps Amazon is taking to promote an innovation-friendly and coordinated approach in shaping responsible AI policies that benefit both the customers and communities we provide to across the commonwealth.” 

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