Preparing for the Future of AI in Government
Solidifying Data Foundations
The underlying core for any AI technology is data. The ability to harness and use data will determine a government's efficiency in tapping into AI capabilities. To take advantage of AI, you will have to have your data foundation in order. Just as a foundation is only as good as its first brick, the quality and accessibility of data serve as the keystone for the successful integration of AI into government.
It's clear that the pace at which technology is advancing and integrating into our daily lives is accelerating. It took roughly 20 years for the database to gain widespread adoption. Cloud technologies reached widespread adoption in 10 years. ChatGPT’s AI chatbot reached one million users in five days.
This compounding effect in technology adoption means that governments with a sound data foundation will find it easier to transition into the next wave of AI innovations. On the other hand, governments lagging in data investments will face mounting challenges. Not only will they miss out on the core advantages AI offers, but every subsequent technological integration will become increasingly expensive, time-consuming, and cumbersome.
Beyond just having data, the way it's governed is equally significant. Implementing secure and comprehensive data governance policies is pivotal. When the foundation is firm, the implementation cost of new AI technologies becomes relatively low, amplifying the benefits.
Tyler Tech Podcast: Driving the Future of Public Services with Data & Insights
Listen as Kyle Hall, director of product management for Tyler’s Data & Insights Division, shares his insights into the ever-evolving landscape of data management software — including the future potential of AI.
The Rising Tide of Digital Culture
The pace of change isn't just about technology; it's also about a cultural shift. As public sector employees can attest, resident expectations are evolving. In a world where information is often just a Google search away, patience for cumbersome, outdated processes is waning.
Take, for example, the simple act of filling out a form. With “digital natives” soon to become the majority, the preference for digital interactions over paper processes is clear. Governments must adapt to not only stay relevant but to effectively serve their residents.
"Any government that five years from now is still relying on any kind of paper process is going to find a combination of rising citizen expectations and generational change," notes Kyle Hall, an expert on digital transformation and data in government. "But the opportunity is way, way bigger than that. A lot of it has to do with not just how we communicate with citizens, but also how governments run their own operations."
According to Hall, over the next 10 years, we might witness the fading out of individual government websites and the rise of centralized digital interfaces. Using AI, these platforms would seamlessly channel residents to the required information or service, drastically improving efficiency and the user experience.
Riding the Wave of Quality Data
However, before governments dive into the AI realm, they must address the whale in the pool — data quality. It's imperative for governments to cultivate a work culture that understands the significance of data quality. Training an AI model on flawed data not only leads to inefficiencies but can spell disaster. Governments might be constrained by budgets, but enhancing data quality, establishing strong data governance policies, and ensuring appropriate data management permissions are pivotal steps that can be undertaken immediately.
As we stand in front of a new technological era, the message is clear: Governments need to get ready. The AI wave is on the horizon, and preparation today can determine the difference between riding this wave or being submerged by it.