Smart Governments Get Smarter with AI

By Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

It’s no secret that state and local governments are getting smarter, rolling out smart city pilots that range from smart street lights to entire smart transportation corridors. The deployment of Internet of Things technologies is enabling governments to become smarter and faster, but can they do more?

In one word, yes!

Artificial Intelligence is that tool, the tool that can enable state and local governments to connect seamlessly with citizens, speed processing time and facilitate a more connected government. In the consumer world, AI is being used for marketing in technologies like virtual assistants that learn our lifestyle, preferences, schedule, etc. and recommend products and services tailored to us.

In the government space, however, AI is being targeted towards data analytics, infrastructure inspections, benefits eligibility, automated traffic control and robotic controls according to data from the 2017 Digital Counties Survey from the Center for Digital Government. AI may be an up and coming technology and adoption rates have been slow, but there are still areas for opportunity in state and local government. Here are three such examples:

1. Validating Health Care Eligibility at Covered California
The Covered California program has 100 employees working full time to validate eligibility on more than 1 million documents annually. With the use of AI, the state hopes to automatically scan and extract relevant information for input into the state’s California Healthcare Eligibility Enrollment and Retention System (CalHEERS).

2. Improving Highway Patrol Response Times in Las Vegas
The Nevada Highway Patrol, the Department of Transportation and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada have teamed with Waycare to help officers work smarter to reduce response times and clear accidents faster. Waycare’s platform leverages a combination of social media, crowdsourcing apps and traffic information center data to predict trouble spots.

3. Predicting Floods in Iowa
Iowa recently launched a system that merges chatbot technology, powered by AI, with data from flood sensors. The new system hopes to provide real-time data through platforms like Skype, Facebook Messenger, Siri, Google Assistant and others that will allow citizens to simply “ask” about the possibility of a flood near their home.

AI is still in its infancy within state and local government, and there is a long way to go before wide-spread acceptance and adoption of the technology. However, there are many small-scale projects such as the digital assistants the State of Utah has rolled out through Amazon Alexa Skills. These skills include everything from practicing for a driver’s license test, getting real-time traffic information to finding ideal fishing spots.

It’s these small-scale projects that offer a starting point for vendors. Look to areas where the state is already providing resources or data to the public that might be hard to find, such as polling location information, school closings or community events. What data can you make more accessible for citizens across the devices they use every day?

Like what you just read? Subscribe to immixGroup’s Government Sales Insider blog for more state and local government IT trends and insight.

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