Companies worldwide utilize artificial intelligence to automate repetitive tasks, make better decisions, and improve customer service. However, AI can be used not only in the private sector; governments are also aware of the significant promise of advanced technologies to change the way organizations and processes are managed. They understand the public expects the same wow effect in the service sector they already experience in the private sector.
It means governments collect data about citizens and share it between departments without neglecting privacy requirements. The authorities can use this information to predict the population’s needs and prevent crises.
Use cases of AI in the government
Information is essential to public agencies’ activity to achieve their goals, from endless paperwork to confidential data obtained from intelligence. Governments around the world are using artificial intelligence to get a clear picture of the data they have. AI manages everything from evaluating cyber threats to piloting military drones, controlling diseases, and finding bacteria in water pipes.
The government must have an advanced IT infrastructure that provides performance and scalability to make progress in areas such as:
- Public services, e.g., AI-ruled traffic monitoring and the use of chatbots.
- Fraud prevention and law enforcement: AI for the government can use police heat maps to predict where and when the next crime will occur.
- National security and defense, including the search for violations of physical and cybersecurity, assistance in training and developing the military capabilities of the Department of Defense. AI technologies are also used in military unmanned aerial vehicles to provide different levels of autonomy.
- Protecting and controlling endangered species (including using drones and artificial intelligence analytics).
- Medical services: AI can be used to prevent the spread of disease. Experts are creating machine learning algorithms that cross-check patients with similar symptoms from different locations, identify patterns and warn where and when an outbreak may occur.
- Public transport services: government agencies are using artificial intelligence tools to create predictive algorithms that keep traffic safe and reduce traffic accidents.
- Emergencies: voice recognition systems and machine learning technologies help governments automate emergency lines by understanding and classifying requests. Smart technologies also display the dryness of forests, which allows predicting the occurrence of fires.
According to Gartner, governments should focus on scaling digital solutions as more than 85% without a comprehensive experience strategy will fail to transform services by 2023. As a result, public organizations have followed in the footsteps of businesses and are ready to invest in artificial intelligence.
Benefits and challenges of AI in public institutions
The main elements of AI for the government are machine and deep learning, computer vision, speech recognition, and robotics. When these technologies work together, they bring significant benefits. Natural language processing helps extract relevant data from intelligence sources and connect them to find the necessary insights.
Failure rate predictions ensure military equipment is optimally maintained and ready to be deployed in the event of an attack. Cyber anomaly detection allows for improving cybersecurity tactics in public systems. The possibilities are endless; let’s discuss a few more options:
- Automation of routine work: it is difficult for live employees to manually process a massive volume of information collected by the military, aerospace, and other departments. Artificial intelligence handles time-consuming tasks quickly and easily.
- Ability to perform mission-critical tasks: AI techniques successfully support vital functions, including improved awareness and decision-making, aircraft safety, ships, and other vehicles, etc.
- Carrying out cutting-edge research and development: the beneficial combination of artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, and analytical data enables research in medicine, genomics, engineering, astrophysics, and more. Publicly funded research is especially poised to benefit from AI technologies in academia and the private sector.
Compared to non-government institutions, public organizations face additional challenges that limit the rapid adoption of AI:
- Finding cutting-edge technologies, they can trust: public service organizations, given their role in the government, face strict standards for adding AI, as the platform must have a high level of trust, security, and morality. It takes a lot of effort to find such a solution.
- Investments in AI are not a priority if we speak about the state: state budget funds are used to finance specific programs and activities, but there are only sometimes enough funds to improve the technologies that underlie them.
- Lack of AI and information management skills: government organizations need to gain basic artificial intelligence skills, which prevents them from deploying and using AI-ruled products.
Many organizations face challenges in the process of adding advanced technologies. However, public institutions are often less flexible than private companies because they have established practices and procedures over the years. Therefore, it can be challenging to implement transformative technologies such as AI because flexibility is not inherent in the organization’s culture.
How to start implementing AI in government?
The government needs to develop tactics, management strategies, and change governance approaches to add artificial intelligence to its activities. To experience the full benefits of AI and minimize the risks that often arise in the public sphere, you need to consider the following tips:
- Define ownership accurately: embracing cutting-edge technology involves collaborating across departments, creating a centralized AI experience, and addressing ethical issues. It means each department must have a designated person to represent initiatives. In addition, it is crucial to distribute powers and responsibilities in the institution as a whole.
- Create a clear vision: Starbucks has met and exceeded its goal with the unique North Star Program. The company’s management had a precise idea of what its future should be like. Specialists created a step-by-step strategy and used this vision throughout development. The government should do the same.
- Start with small steps and come up with a business case. Creating a development strategy will become easier once the first advances confirm the value of AI. The government should initially focus on a few simple but effective applications, scaling up its expertise across departments over time. The initiative should start with clear goals and indicators of success (not always financial parameters). Although creating a business case is not easy, it will be of excellent knowledge to obtain stable funding in the long run.
Many institutions accept the adoption of AI as an exciting journey. However, artificial intelligence offers governments and public organizations many benefits that enable them to achieve more, meet the needs of workers, and reach unimaginable heights. Government agencies can prepare for success by carefully planning each step with the support of technical experts. We are still at the starting point of the implementation of AI for government activities, and it is time to start actively using it. The future has already arrived.