State Government Technology Leaders View Artificial Intelligence as the Most Influential Technology

Published: August 29, 2018

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A NASCIO report outlines State Government Leaders’ opinions regarding the future significance of artificial intelligence in government.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) recently released a report outlining the future of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, specifically as it pertains to use in government. In 2017, NASCIO’s State CIO Survey indicated that the “Internet of Things” was seen as the emerging IT area with the greatest potential for impact, followed by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. In 2018, however, AI jumped to first in the rankings, with 58% of respondents viewing this technology as most influential.

The report outlines 4 areas in which Artificial Intelligence affects performance: Relieve, Split Up, Replace, and Augment. AI that relieves uses automation to take over day-to-day tasks, creating more time for other, more complicated things. AI can also be used to split up tasks, where work is shared between computers and human workers, or in which humans supervise computer automation. In some cases, AI may be used to fully replace human tasks, while augmentation allows AI to make human more efficient or effective at their jobs.

These applications of Artificial Intelligence have already found their way into government technology. States have found that document discovery (eDiscovery) has been greatly aided by AI, which can sift through documents much faster than a human. Artificial Intelligence and analytics are also planned for other areas; Maryland is planning on upgrading traffic signals, which will be able to respond to traffic flow and conditions immediately. Vermont is also looking at using modeling to predict how long road treatment will last, bridge deterioration, and other uses.

One area in which AI may be readily seen is in chat bots. One example can be found at the North Carolina Innovation Center, which has begun looking at employing chat bots to assist human employees with processing requests. Since many items are simple enough, such as password resets, chat bots will be able to take some of this burden, resulting in time savings and efficiency. Mississippi already has it's own chat bot, named Missi, that can provide responses to numerous inquiries.

It’s clear the Artificial Intelligence holds great potential for many uses in state government, but what’s also important is to ensure thoughtful implementation. One point is that AI should be used when it is the best option, rather than forcing it into any situation. States will also need to ensure their data management capabilities and processes are implemented before diving into AI, including measures for transparency. Much of this falls to CIOs, who should be ready to address a number of concerns, such as automation replacing human jobs. Illinois has already developed an AI roadmap, which outlines objectives and sets the foundation for these to happen.

The report concludes by providing a brief look at what the future might hold for AI in government, but also reinforces that it’s not just about the future, as Artificial Intelligence is already here and happening. It’s impossible to know where exactly AI will take state governments in the coming years, but the examples above show a variety of uses for the technology that cover a range of areas. Based on the expectations of CIOs, it is clear that AI will continue to be involved in some way or another in state government technology, and vendors working in this field should be excited about what may be in store in the future.

Source: NASCIO