7 takeaways on AI, automation in local government

AI concept art
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In a virtual roundtable conversation hosted by Scoop News Group last month, local government technology leaders from around the New York City region shared hopes and expectations for artificial intelligence, lending insight into how the technology is being received inside government. Most expressed interest in the emerging technology, which is already seeing its first implementations at government agencies, but many also hedged their interest with a realization that the technology’s capabilities remain limited.

“I’m in listening mode,” one New York City official said. “I’ve heard a lot about how AI is going to change my work, but so far it’s just hypothetical.”

But despite AI’s immaturity, many officials say they feel impending budget constraints are forcing them to investigate any technology that automates tasks to alleviate their workforces.

“We absolutely expect chatbots — and artificial intelligence in general — to be a big part of our workforce strategy in the future,” another official said.

During the discussion, the technology officials shared their current uses of AI and automation technologies, if they had any, and their expectations for how those tools will affect government’s operations in the coming years.