Sep 08 2022

The Current Landscape for AI in State and Local Government

Agencies harness artificial intelligence to shape security and services.

The use of artificial intelligence is rapidly increasing across cities and states. With the help of AI, urban environments are innovating to meet the demands of the digital age. As citizens require more efficiency from the websites they surf to the public transportation they ride, state and local governments are investing in AI technology to optimize the citizen experience.

AI is a multifaceted technology, impacting nearly every major sector people interact with. Some of the latest advancements in AI include safeguarding food and water, enhancing public safety, detecting climate change, solving traffic congestion and improving citizen interaction with public services.

As more cities invest in digital transformation, AI will continue to play a major role.

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Cameras Enhance Security Efforts with AI

The security and safety of people, technology and environments is a top priority for government. As threats evolve and become more intelligent, so too should the technology used to combat them. As noted in a recent panel discussion hosted by the General Services Administration, AI tools are essential for enhancing both cybersecurity and physical security.

Many applications, especially within state and local governments, are using cameras — such as the Bosch FLEXIDOME or the Axis P3245-LVE — to improve physical security. These cameras are intelligent and provide analytics to help governments make data-driven decisions, more accurately assess situations and respond appropriately.

DIVE DEEPER: Supporting video surveillance with edge computing.

For example, certain Bosch cameras use machine learning to identify objects that could pose a threat to citizens. In Wisconsin, cameras are being taught to recognize icicles and monitor their size. When icicles become hazardous, the camera sends an alert, and the icicles are removed, keeping pedestrians safe.

This type of predictive and data analytics for the Artificial Intelligence of Things requires cybersecurity. The GSA panelists noted that as state and local governments increase their use of AIoT technology, it will be crucial to implement cybersecurity practices and standards similar to FedRAMP at the federal level.

AI Helps Prepare for Disasters and Enhances Sustainability

Local and state leaders use AI and predictive analytics not only to keep their citizens safe, but also to ensure their cities are maintained and protected. For example, AI can help leaders determine their states’ vulnerability to storms and natural disasters. Armed with this information, they can work to prepare an appropriate emergency response, update infrastructure and ensure access to disaster relief resources.

Additionally, governments can rely on AI to help them achieve sustainability goals. Smart waste management systems, including waste monitoring receptors in trash bins, can alert waste management teams when the bins are full, helping them optimize waste collection.

EXPLORE: How first responders are benefiting from digital enhancements.

Finally, some AI technologies, like the Bosch Traffic Detector, can use video analytics to help monitor traffic. In Chattanooga, Tenn., leaders have implemented cameras on stoplights to monitor traffic patterns, car speeds, bicycle traffic and more. Using this technology and the data it collects can help predict traffic congestion, reduce the likelihood of accidents and mitigate other safety issues, providing real-time response and a better experience for drivers.

Officials Turn to AI to Improve Government Services

As leaders implement AI technology in government services, they are prioritizing the citizen experience. For example, AI-powered chatbots enhance government communications, providing citizens with great flexibility to access services and report information. The chatbots optimize the caller experience by analyzing messages through an automated system and routing them to the correct department.

In 2020, the city of San Jose, Calif., created the San Jose 311 app, a mobile self-help platform residents can use to submit requests and report problems, such as potholes, graffiti or illegal dumping. The app has significantly improved the 311 system’s efficiency, reducing redundant calls by 20 percent.

RELATED: How agencies are using AI and robotic process automation in compliance with REAL ID.

More recently, Brownsville, Texas used an AI chatbot system to assist 1,500 residents in receiving vaccinations. According to Felipe Romero, director of communications and marketing for Brownsville, the city needed a way to share factual information in real time. By integrating the AI functionality with its BTX Engage platform, the city was able to keep its citizens informed and provide them with a much-improved government services experience.

It's clear that AI is having a profound impact around the world. As the demand for smarter technology increases, state and local governments have a unique opportunity to embrace the age of digital transformation.

This article is part of StateTech’s CITizen blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #StateLocalIT hashtag.


Alina Bukhtiy/Getty Images

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