All-in on AI: Calling it a ‘moonshot’ project, Murphy details plan to pursue AI R&D

Governor, during State of the State, aims to make N.J. home base for artificial intelligence researchers

Calling it a dawn of a transformative new era not seen since the introduction of the internet, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday plans to ensure that New Jersey is at the forefront of artificial intelligence research & development.

Murphy capped his annual State of the State address by announcing what he is calling an “AI moonshot” — an effort to help the state’s top minds pioneer a series of AI-powered breakthroughs, over the next decade, that will change the lives of billions for the better, he said.

The effort — which he said mimics President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to land on the moon by the end of the 1960s — aims to bring together innovators and leaders to invest in research & development, and, ultimately, establish New Jersey as the home-base for AI-powered game-changers.

Beth Noveck. (File photo)

It will be led by Chief Innovation Officer Beth Noveck, who will become the state’s first chief AI strategist.

“From revolutionizing the discovery of new drugs and medical treatments, to creating new, personalized educational tools that can dramatically improve literacy rates and math skills, whatever the challenge, we are going to harness generative AI to unlock a new generation of possibilities,” Murphy said.

“With our state’s talent, our resources, and our thriving innovation ecosystem, we are going to pioneer breakthroughs — not for the benefit of a small group of stakeholders — but for the benefit of everyone.”

Like the internet was a generation ago, Murphy said the opportunities seemingly are limitless — pointing to potential new jobs and new commercial opportunities.

“The future of generative AI has yet to be written — and New Jersey can be the author,” he said. “This is not just an economic opportunity for our families — it is, frankly, an imperative.

“Because, if we do not take the lead on AI, I guarantee you: Someone else will.”

Murphy said he envisions the project this way.

“It is a road that heads right down Route 1 — New Jersey’s corridor of innovation — lined with the names of venerated institutions like Rutgers, Bell Labs, and Princeton.

“I see a future in which New Jersey’s top minds harness AI to discover new cures for debilitating diseases. Giving health care workers more opportunities — not fewer.

“I see a future in which our innovators use AI to discover new methods for combating climate change and caring for our ecosystems. Creating jobs — not killing them.

“And I see a future in which every student can receive a world-class education — tailored to their unique needs — instantaneously.

“Uplifting educators — not replacing them.”

With that, Murphy threw down the welcome mat.

“To every innovator out there, to the visionaries who believe generative AI has the potential to improve the lives of billions, for all those dreamers hungry to usher in a new age of hope and prosperity, consider this your invitation: Join us in New Jersey,” he said.