All in on AI: Murphy touts desire for state to be East Coast leader — and why it matters for business

Gov. Phil Murphy understands the inherent advantages giving Silicon Valley the best opportunity to be the leader in the development of artificial intelligence. On the West Coast, that is.

Murphy, who has been touting the all-everything aspect of AI for months, reiterated his desire to have New Jersey be the home base for AI development on the East Coast. The governor stresses it’s an economic development driver as much as fundamental change in how all of us do business and go about our everyday lives.

“We are spending an enormous amount of energy and focus, including in the Office of Innovation (on AI),” he said Friday during a fireside chat with Jim Kirkos at a Meadowlands Chamber event.

Murphy said the state has a three-legged stool approach to the technology.

“We believe that the Bay Area is ground zero for the AI industry right now and the AI talent,” he said. “We are aggressively pursuing a whole series of options and plans for New Jersey to be sort of second-fiddle East Coast hub of one stool; one leg of the stool is business attraction.”

That includes efforts from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority — which Murphy repeatedly touted as having $14.3 billion in potential incentives available.

Murphy said the state also is pursuing regulation.

“Will this be the best thing that ever happened — or will this be a job killer that ends human life on the planet,” he said, perhaps only half-jokingly. “Having a stake in that debate is important.”

The second leg of the stool is regulation.

The third leg, Murphy said, is practical application.

And that third leg, which is really where the Office of Innovation is spending a lot of its time, is using AI to better deliver government services for customers — the the residents of this state.

Murphy notes simple interaction with the public — whether it be to get answers when programs are released (such as Anchor tax rebates) or for the daily interaction that all citizens have from time to time, such as with the Motor Vehicle Commission.

“There’s an enormous potential there,” he said, calling the ability to seamlessly communicate with residents a game-changer.

Of course, AI isn’t just for the public sector.

Murphy issued a warning for the business sector, saying it would be a “big mistake” for companies to view AI as a line of business rather than a technology that will permeate all aspects of business.

For more from the fireside chat, see the video below.