May 07 2024

State CIO Report Highlights Concerns, Hopes for GenAI and Workforce

Association's survey points to apprehension about required skills and expectations of value in adopting generative artificial intelligence.

Speaking at last week's midyear conference of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, Georgia CIO Shawnzia Thomas said her government IT agency's workforce was excited about the possibilities of generative artificial intelligence. 

"It's an opportunity to learn something different," Thomas told a panel of the NASCIO 2024 midyear conference at National Harbor, Md.

Indeed, the Georgia Technology Authority believes there may be opportunities to augment its workforce with generative AI.

Thomas made her observations during discussion of a report, Generative Artificial Intelligence and Its Impact on State Government IT Workforces, published by NASCIO and McKinsey shortly before the conference. The report surveyed 49 state CIOs about their outlook for generative AI adoption in their workplaces.

Addressing the NASCIO panel, McKinsey’s Aldous Mitchell said he was surprised that so many states expressed a concern about "a lack of necessary skills" to use the emerging technology.

"I didn't expect it to be that high," Mitchell said. "There are practical solutions to that. Everyone's learning."

The report asked state CIOs: "What concerns do you have regarding the impact of GenAI on your state government’s technology workforce (including contractors and staff augmentation)?" 

The top five overall concerns among state CIOs are:

  • Lack of necessary skills, 53%
  • Security concerns, 49%
  • Privacy issues, 47%
  • Bias and fairness, 43%
  • Inaccuracy, 39%

Thomas acknowledged that her workforce required more training, and officials weren't yet sure what form or direction that training might take.

But the report also emphasized the potential value of generative AI. For example, the survey asked state CIOs: "How do you envision GenAI improving efficiency in your state government’s technology workforce (including contractors and staff augmentation)?"

The top five overall opportunities identified by CIOs are:

  • Streamlining citizen services and interactions, 80%
  • Automating repetitive tasks and processes, 76%
  • Automating content generation, 69%
  • Enhancing data analysis and decision-making, 67%
  • Improving security, 55%

Generative AI has incredible potential to boost morale among staff, Thomas said. She pointed to busy periods when call volume is high.

“If AI can handle some of those calls, it decreases stress on my staff,” she said.

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