Artificial Intelligence Aids in Delivering State and Local Services

By Charles Castelly, SLED Analyst

Last year a joint survey by NASCIO and the Center for Digital Government surveyed state government leaders about the promise and potential of artificial intelligence. When the survey was released, artificial intelligence (AI) was just starting to gain traction in state governments. Being forced to deliver vital citizen services in the current environment has led to a massive adoption of AI, and has allowed states to respond more quickly to requests while gaining operational efficiencies.

According to a recent report by the Center for Digital Government, early adoption has been primarily within health and human services agencies because of the increased demand for online services, and in recent months for unemployment insurance.

Other areas that are experimenting with AI include the departments of transportation, which are looking at it for traffic management. There are also plans for public safety agencies to use image recognition to help identify license plates and workforce development agencies to use robotic process automation to help them shorten their response time to citizens.

Here are three drivers behind AI adoption:

(1) Delivering Personalized Service 

Citizens have become more familiar with the customizable interactions they see through social media and are craving this type of functionality when dealing with the government. AI helps state and local governments improve the citizen experience and deliver more personalized services. For example, most of the many services offered by departments of motor vehicles that were typically handled in person but are now being offered online. For vendors this means agencies will be looking for solutions that help them develop web-based applications that integrate with their current operational systems, some of which are aging legacy systems that don’t translate well to digitization.

(2) Improving Government Efficiency

Decreases in revenue are expected across all state and local governments, which means once again states are operating under the mantra of “do more with less.” To help stretch limited staffing resources, RPA can help eliminate manual tasks and allow for faster processing. Claims processing is one of the best use cases for RPA because of the repetitive tasks associated with entering the information into multiple stand-alone systems. Collaboration with agencies to examine and streamline their processes will help implementation of RPA or other AI technologies that improve government efficiency.

(3) Augmenting the Workforce

AI is viewed not only as a force multiplier but a mechanism that allows staff to focus on higher value tasks such as cybersecurity. The CIO of Utah, for example, has stated that AI has helped them be more proactive in their cyber strategy by anticipating potential attacks and preventing them. Vendors should look for opportunities that help agencies leverage their own data to be proactive in their strategies and defenses.

Even with reduced budgets, state and local governments are looking for solutions to help them provide citizen services faster and create more efficiencies in their workflows. AI can help deliver more personalized, efficient services that allow citizens to interact with government in a seamless, digital manner. Vendors should take advantage of the market curiosity for AI by focusing on agencies experiencing influxes in demand for their services.

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