How State and Local Agencies Are Using Natural Language Processing
“Across government, whether in defense, transportation, human services, public safety, or health care, agencies struggle with a similar problem — making sense out of huge volumes of unstructured text to inform decisions, improve services, and save lives,” notes a 2019 Deloitte report. “Text analytics, and specifically NLP, can be used to aid processes from investigating crime to providing intelligence for policy analysis.”
One way is through Deloitte’s AI platform RegExplorer, says William Eggers, executive director of Deloitte’s Center for Government Insights, who co-authored the report. The tool allows governments sift through large numbers of text documents, such as regulations, that would ordinarily take humans much longer to process.
“A lot of these regulations — there’s thousands of pages of regulations,” Eggers says. “A lot of them haven’t been updated in many years, a lot of them are duplicative and overlapping. And when governments are looking at regulatory reform or reducing burdens and so on and so forth, it’s really impossible for the human eye to see all those different connections between the corpus of regulations.”
The tool digests, analyzes and understands the links between documents to help governments make connections — including with regulations in other countries — and streamline changes.
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“It comes in quite handy when people are doing policy reform, regulation reform and also creating legislation,” he says. “Government has both a lot of data and a lot of text. And NLP becomes a key technology for helping you to turn that text into data that can be analyzed, which was previously not possible to do through the human eye.”
Another big area where state and local governments are using natural language processing is within the court and criminal justice systems.
Mike Morper, a vice president of product marketing at the AI tech company Veritone, says his company’s aiWARE platform is basically a search engine for unstructured data, such as audio and video, that helps agencies quickly find what they need. This has big implications for law enforcement, attorneys and others who are increasingly reliant on multimedia for evidence, he says.