The Promising Potential of Generative AI in Kansas

Kansas is taking a new approach to the adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI) with a recently implemented statewide policy. This policy aims to strike a balance between embracing the benefits of generative AI while ensuring data privacy and adaptability to evolving technological advancements.

Unlike other states that have formed task forces to study the impact of generative AI, Kansas recognized the urgency in establishing a formal policy swiftly. Jeff Maxon, Kansas’ interim chief information technology officer and chief information security officer, emphasized the rapid pace at which AI technology is advancing and the need to proactively address its integration.

The three-page policy, effective since July, applies to all state business activities, including software development, research, and decision-making processes. It mandates that responses generated by AI systems undergo thorough review by human operators to ensure accuracy, appropriateness, and privacy. The policy also prohibits the verbatim use of AI-generated responses for official statements, safeguarding against potential issues and manipulations associated with an emerging technology.

By treating the policy as a living document, subject to regular review and update, Kansas demonstrates its commitment to flexible and adaptive governance. Maxon believes that continuous evaluation of the policy will enable Kansas to refine and adjust its guardrails as generative AI technology improves over time.

An essential aspect of the policy is protecting sensitive information. Kansas treats all interactions with generative AI as part of the public record, ensuring positive control over data and guarding against unauthorized use or data mining by vendors. This measure reflects the state’s commitment to privacy and citizen protection.

Generative AI has already proven beneficial in Kansas, particularly in modernizing legacy applications programmed in outdated languages like COBOL. The AI systems have assisted developers in programming and language conversion. Looking ahead, Maxon anticipates that generative AI will play a crucial role in facilitating user interactions and addressing frequently asked questions effectively.

Kansas’ generative AI policy is a forward-thinking step toward harnessing the potential of this emerging technology while remaining vigilant about privacy and security concerns. By creating a flexible framework, the state is prepared to adapt to the rapid advancements and unlock the transformative possibilities of AI.


What is generative artificial intelligence (AI)?

Generative AI is a subset of artificial intelligence that involves training models to generate creative and original content based on input data. These models use algorithms to produce new text, images, and even music.

Why did Kansas implement a generative AI policy?

Kansas recognized the fast-paced nature of AI technology advancements and sought to establish a formal policy that prioritizes citizen data privacy while embracing the potential benefits of generative AI.

How does the policy protect against data manipulation?

The policy requires AI-generated responses to be reviewed by human operators before dissemination to ensure accuracy, appropriateness, privacy, and security. This approach safeguards against potential data manipulation or inaccuracies.

What safeguards are in place for data privacy?

Kansas treats interactions with generative AI as part of the public record, allowing for positive control of data and preventing vendors from using it for purposes other than the intended service.

How has generative AI been useful in Kansas so far?

Generative AI has proved especially helpful in updating legacy applications programmed in outdated languages like COBOL. It assists developers in programming and language conversion, offering a solution for modernizing systems without the need for scarce COBOL programmers.

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