Friday, 21 Jun 2024

Artificial intelligence coming to a government near you soon?

Artificial intelligence coming to a government near you soon?


Artificial intelligence  coming to a government near you soon?

The recent blizzard of warnings about artificial intelligence and how it is transforming learning, upending legal, financial and organizational functions, and reshaping social and cultural interaction, have mostly left out the role it is already playing in governance.

Governments in the US at every level are attempting the transition from a programmatic model of service delivery to a citizen-focused model.

Los Angeles, the US's second largest city, is a pioneer in the field, unveiling technologies to help streamline bureaucratic functions from police recruitment to paying parking tickets to filling potholes or locating resources at the library.

For now, AI advances are limited to automation. When ChatGPT was asked recently about how it might change how people deal with government, it responded that "the next generation of AI, which includes ChatGPT, has the potential to revolutionize the way governments interact with their citizens."

But information flow and automated operations are only one aspect of governance that can be updated. AI, defined as technology that can think humanly, act humanly, think rationally, or act rationally, is also close to being used to simplify the political and bureaucratic business of policymaking.

"The foundations of policymaking - specifically, the ability to sense patterns of need, develop evidence-based programs, forecast outcomes and analyze effectiveness - fall squarely in AI's sweet spot," the management consulting firm BCG said in a paper published in 2021. "The use of it to help shape policy is just beginning."

That was an advance on a study published four years earlier that warned governments were continuing to operate "the way they have for centuries, with structures that are hierarchical, siloed, and bureaucratic" and the accelerating speed of social change was "too great for most governments to handle in their current form".

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