Colorado CTO sees AI, emerging tech changing citizen experience in Colorado

With technologies like artificial intelligence working their way into state government technology operations, David McCurdy says he's making room to think more strategically.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams Associate Publisher & Director of Strategic Initiatives

Jake Williams is currently the Associate Publisher & Director of Strategic Initiatives for StateScoop, based in Washington, D.C., where h...

As technology changes the way government does business, so too must government transform the way it serves its customers — internally and externally.

David McCurdy, Colorado’s chief technology officer, says the changing landscape of government technology will also change the way he does his job, and bring with it a chance to use some emerging technology like artificial intelligence to change the way government functions.

“I’m a technologist, so I’m in it for technology,” McCurdy says in an October 2017 video interview with StateScoop. “What’s happening in technology is going to change the landscape … [it’s] going to improve things for our customer. That’s what I’m looking for.”

McCurdy says his office will bring in additional personnel to shift his responsibility away from overall day-to-day office operations and into one that allows him to focus on how emerging technology is going to change the way government works.

“We’re sitting at the boardroom tables. We’re there for decision making. That’s the maturity we’re looking for at OIT. We’re going to be there at decision time, and so it’s more boardrooms, less firefighting,” McCurdy says. “My focus is going to specifically move toward strategic — so artificial intelligence [and] mobile. I’m going to dive deep and focus in that area.”

That focus will be especially relevant now, McCurdy says, because the state IT office has — and will continue to work to — so drastically changed the experience for the state employee.

“The pivot you’re going to see in Colorado, coming from our lieutenant governor, from our governor, from Suma [Nallapati, the state’s chief information officer], is how do we change the experience for the end user consumer?” McCurday ays. “Whether it be for motor vehicles, whether it be for state park passeses, taxes, how do we interact with the citizen on a daily basis?”

All of that will also pair with a continuing focus to improve operations, make them more efficient and ultimately lower the cost of government.

“There’s been this trend over the last 10 years where IT costs have gone up and up and up and we haven’t seen the reciprocal benefit back to the organization,” McCurdy says. “I think technologies like AI are actually going to change that dynamic.”

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