Emerging technologies are those that aren’t necessarily new, but are newly viable. Artificial intelligence has been studied for decades, but it’s only within recentyears thatnatural language processing algorithms, for instance,havemanaged to scrape against the ideas first plunked into the public imaginationby science fiction writers of the 1940sand ’50s. Industry and government leaders are findings ways to develop and push advancedtechnologiescloser to the public as they pursue visions of smart cities,manage a talent gap in the workforce and provide services that improve the quality of life for millions of residents. Emerging technologies have the potential to unleash untold bounties, but because they are often viewed as risky projects orworse, asdistracting novelties they need champions if they areto take hold. There are dozens upon dozens of such leaders in the government arena thislist contains a baker’s dozen that was on hand to discuss their projects and how they cantransformgovernment operations and society alike for generations to come.
Chief Information Officer, City of Los Angeles
Chip the chatbot
Under the leadership of Mayor Eric Garcetti, the City of Los Angeles looks to emerging technology to digitally engage over 4 million residents. Chip, also known as the City Hall Internet Personality, is one of those technologies. As a chatbot tool launched by the City of LAInformation Technology Agency (ITA), Chip is an anytime, anywhere resource that makes it easier to do business with thecity, request a city service, become a LApolice officer, and more.
For Angelenos, its easy. When you see the Ask Chip icon, just click it and have a conversation. Combining the natural interface of language with the power of cloud-hosted machine learning and a knowledge base of over 4,800 pre-loaded responses, Chip makes a large, complex government like Los Angeles’ feel smaller and more connected. It transforms the accessibility of information (24/7 from any device), the quality of information (Chip assesses the quality of his answers and learns new responses daily), and reduces the cost of information (the chatbot covers the routine questions, while humans tackle the more difficult ones). As a highly scalable tool, Chip can be educated and placed in a myriad of digital services.
In the future, chatbots like Chip will intake 311 service requests (Hey Chip, tell LACity about this pothole) and even communicate with other digital assistants (OK Google, ask LA City for a new recycle bin.)Digital assistants like Chip make their government accessible when they need it, where they need it. For LAresidents and businesses, that is transformational.
Program Manager for Innovation Management, City of Philadelphia Office of Innovation & Technology
Underpinning a smart city is the reliance on highly collaborative systems: strong partnerships among a diverse range of stakeholders and a high-level of connected systems across infrastructure. As an urban planner, I see smart city as an urban development strategy. Its about how we use technology to get to where we hope to go as a community. For me, that community is Philadelphia.
Through SmartCityPHL, I am working to create the citys first comprehensive smart city roadmap. It is my hope that the roadmap will provide the city with a clear path forward on how it will leverage technology to transform the way it serves and supports its diverse communities. This roadmap will lay out priorities, address the challenges presented by historical infrastructure and disparate legacy systems, establish a governance model, and identify implementation strategies. While this roadmap will be specific to Philadelphias opportunities and challenges, I hope that it will provide lessons learned, best practices, and actionable processes for other communities to adopt for their own smart city strategies.
The most exciting thing about this work is connecting with so many different types of people who all want to make Philadelphia a more vibrant place to live, work, and play. With the roadmap, I work alongside a cross-departmental group with representation from over 17 city departments and utilities to find ways to better collaborate and coordinate moving forward. In addition, we are working with stakeholders who represent our neighborhoods, universities, and businesses to participate in the planning process to ensure the roadmap thoughtfully reflects the needs of our communities. The collaboration and partnership that is being fostered through this initiative will produce positive outcomes for the city far beyond the roadmap and the initiative itself. Success to me means Ive set others up for success in the many years to come.
Communications and marketing director, Indiana Office of Technology
Amazon Alexa skills
The State of Indiana has created an Amazon Alexa skill that has multiple intents allowing citizens to connect with government. The most recent intent added taps into the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) Travel Advisory. With the Travel Advisory, each of Indianas 92 county emergency management offices provide updates to IDHS when conditions warrant.
During particularly bad weather, the Travel Advisory page can get millions of visits. Now, citizens can just Ask Alexa to find out travel conditions. One of the unique things we did on this project was to make sure that all “intents” are underneath the “Ask Indiana” banner. This means as we add intents, citizens dont have to enable an entirely new skill on their device.
While right now Alexa and other voice interactive services are a way to send information out, we see the future in terms of being able to conduct transactions. The next steps may be, “here are instructions on how to renew a license,” but ultimately we would like to get to the point where the transaction is done entirely via voice.
Voice services will truly revolutionize how commerce is conducted. Our goal for IN.gov is to make sure that we are where customers are going. We want to make it as easy as possible for citizens and businesses to complete transactions with the state.