No Strategy Needed to Start Leveraging AI in Government

While states should formulate a strategic vision for long-term use of artificial intelligence, the pandemic showed that AI can successfully assist with vital public services.

The pandemic has shown state chief information officers that artificial intelligence is within reach of public agencies, and an overall AI strategy is not needed to start leveraging and benefiting from the technology.

AI refers to systems or machines that mimic human intelligence to perform tasks and can improve themselves based on the information they collect.

When the Covid-19 pandemic started, many state governments had to adapt to chatbots, which are computer programs that simulate and process human written or spoken conversation, and other digital assistance to handle inquiries around unemployment assistance and other vital public services to deal with the increase in demand.

From the transition, agency leaders found that technology allowed them to better serve more residents with fewer resources and deploy limited staff to deal with more complicated activities.

Supporting State AI Use
For AI adoption to have long-term success, a defined strategy and vision are important with a clear framework for AI use and governance, and a defined AI vision and strategy.

Among the challenges adopting this kind of technology includes states lacking staff or contractors with the skills required to roll it out, existing computer systems that are badly outdated, and the need for a clearer framework to govern how AI and machine learning can be deployed.

Formulating a Strategic Vision
While most states’ AI efforts are in the early stages, technology leaders have an opportunity to lay a firm foundation grounded in sound strategy.

Steps technology leaders can take when looking ahead include:
Vision: Examine the full breadth of AI possibilities and limitations.
Data: Allow AI to leverage massive data sets to deliver accurate predictions.
Framework: Centralize guidance and standardized processes in an AI strategy.
Business value: Give an AI strategy a narrative of impact.
Deployment: Look at early successes with AI that show agencies the potential of technology tools, like natural language processing, machine learning and sentiment analysis.
Automation: Make sure advanced automation furthers the state’s interests.
Vendor collaboration: Employ companies that specialize in learning automation, software-as-a-service platforms and managed services as primary paths to AI systems.

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