Using artificial intelligence (AI) adds trillions of dollars in value to goods and services each year with Amazon dispatching items to regional hubs in anticipation of purchases and small businesses using AI resources for Google and Facebook to target advertising.
But governments have been slow to apply AI to their policies and services. In theory, AI could be applied to the educational needs of children; to fit healthcare to the genetics and lifestyle of patients; help predict and prevent traffic deaths, street crime, costs of floods, disease outbreaks, and financial crises; all with state-of-the-art modeling.
Influencing progress is the fact that governments have struggled with more simple technologies, witnessed by the web site failure at the launching of the Affordable Care Act in 2013 and similar failures.
Technological innovation is essential for governments to maintain a position of authority in a data intensive world. The core tasks of governments, enforcing regulation, setting employment rights, and ensuring fair elections requires an understanding of data and algorithms.
Government interactions with citizens generate trails of digital data. Among other possibilities, AI can use this data to personalize public services developed and adapted to individual circumstances; enable government to forecast more accurately, predicting trends and events; and stimulate complex systems to experiment with different policy options to spot unintended consequences.
Summarized from nature.com