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While states should formulate a strategic vision for long-term use of artificial intelligence, the pandemic showed that AI can successfully assist with vital public services, according to a survey of state CIOs.
The pandemic has shown state chief information officers that artificial intelligence is within reach of public agencies, and an overall AI strategy is not needed to start leveraging and benefiting from the technology, according to a report by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers and the Center for Digital Government.
AI refers to systems or machines that mimic human intelligence to perform tasks and can improve themselves based on the information they collect, according to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
When the Covid-19 pandemic started, many state governments had to adapt to chatbots, which are computer programs that simulate and process human written or spoken conversation, and other digital assistance to handle inquiries around unemployment assistance and other vital public services to deal with the increase in demand, according to the report.
From the transition, agency leaders found that technology allowed them to better serve more residents with fewer resources and deploy limited staff to deal with more complicated activities instead of answering routine questions, the report contends.
Supporting State AI Use
For AI adoption to have long-term success, survey respondents say strategy and vision are important.
When asked what they need to support AI long term, 75% said a clear framework for AI use and governance, and 48% favored a defined AI vision and strategy, the report says. Also, 42% said a centralized approach to AI adoption.
One of the challenges adopting this kind of technology includes states lacking staff or contractors with the skills required to roll it out, existing computer systems that are badly outdated, and the need for a clearer framework to govern how AI and machine learning can be deployed.
Formulating a Strategic Vision
While most states’ AI efforts are in the early stages, technology leaders have an opportunity to lay a firm foundation grounded in sound strategy, the report says.
Here are some steps technology leaders can take when looking ahead, according to the report. When formulating a strategic vision, state CIOs must:
Vision: Examine the full breadth of AI possibilities and limitations.
Data: Allow AI to leverage massive data sets to deliver accurate predictions.
Framework: Centralize guidance and standardized processes in an AI strategy.
Business value: Give an AI strategy a narrative of impact.
Deployment: Look at early successes with AI that show agencies the potential of technology tools, like natural language processing, machine learning and sentiment analysis.
Automation: Make sure advanced automation furthers the state’s interests.
Vendor collaboration: Employ companies that specialize in learning automation, software-as-a-service platforms and managed services as primary paths to AI systems.
For more information from the NASCIO-CDG report click here.
Andre Claudio is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.
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