Washington’s Handling Of The Covid-19 Pandemic Raises Concerns About AI Integration
Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently signed an executive order directing state agencies to develop a plan on how to integrate artificial intelligence into state systems in an ethical and transparent manner.
“It’s our duty to the public to be thorough and thoughtful in how we adopt these powerful new tools.”
"Duty to the public." That's true. Our elected leaders do have a duty to be ethical,, transparent AND use intelligence when serving the public. What is Washington's track record in that regard?
Washington Must Learn The Lessons of Covid
Anyone remember how the Governor handled the Covid pandemic? Clutching on to state sanctioned emergency powers, Inslee only surrendered them just days before his reelection after 920 days of "my way or the highway."
The Washington Policy Center posted 3 dozen of the Governor's executive decision press releases during his two and a half years as a non-transparent "King" and concluded:
Whether or not you agree or disagree with every decision the Governor has made for the last 900 days, the fact remains these decisions with vast impact on individuals and businesses were made behind closed doors in the executive branch.
So why not fix it now that the emergency is over? The State Senate made a weak attempt 2 years ago and State House republicans tried to amend it, Remind me, who controls the House again? That's right, the Democrats do.
Editorial boards around the state looked at the legislation concluding:
as doing “very little to change the status quo in Washington state” and “not adequate for the people of Washington,” House Republicans offered strong amendments that would have restored balance and trust to state government through real emergency powers reform. After just 20 minutes of debate, House Democrats stopped debate . They then killed the bill later in the day.
So what? Isn't all that just Old News? Why dredge it all up now? Inslee isn't running again even if the "no time limits Emergency Powers still exist? Why bother?
How about this - SO IT DOESN"T HAPPEN AGAIN!
Washington State Overreach Was A Problem
The National Review just came out with a story about a new report on how the pandemic was mishandled in America..
“Pandemic lessons for the 2024 presidential election,” was published in the British Medical Journal and draws on a breadth of scientific studies to assess the policy failures that led to significantly higher death rates in the U.S. than in other developed countries."
Healthcare inadequacies, poor communication, a failure to adjust to new scientific evidence were all sited as contributing factors by the authors of the report including:
and specifically call out “overreach” at the state level for compounding the hardship of the pandemic.
State level overreach. Sounds familiar?
The report also says:
1.) “For example, even after studies had shown that ... transmission outdoors was much less common than indoors, some municipalities and states kept parks, playgrounds, and beaches closed.'
2.)"Even after research had shown that schools could be reopened safely with basic public health measures, too many jurisdictions kept teaching online only.”
3.) "Many blue states kept schools closed for months after data from other countries demonstrated conclusively that schools were not effective vectors for transmission, given the natural resistance of children to the virus.
4.) "Several liberal jurisdictions also required that masks be worn even when gathering outdoors, in keeping with the CDC’s recommendation, which was not dropped until April 2021, when the agency acknowledged that outdoor transmission was exceptionally rare."
Another Emergency Need Not Be As Bad "IF"...
The authors of the report say their point is to encourage U.S. presidential candidates to learn from the mistakes of the recent past and to put plans together that will "transform US public health and preparedness, and improve population health ."
My point is that the SAME must be said of all Washington State's current and future leaders. Even well intentioned unlimited power leads to overreach and the collateral damage that can cause can prove worse than the problem it was intended to fix.
Today, while state government talks about managing "artificial intelligence", it's a good time to remember when our leadership's "intelligence" mismanaged a disaster and to remind them to incorporate all lessons learned from that emergency so as not to leave the door open for a disaster of another kind.
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Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby