The public sector has a high potential for data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to have a huge transformative impact. After all, governments have access to tremendous amounts of data and government operations affect everyone in small and large ways every day.
While it is no secret that only rich data catalyses Artificial Intelligence, its adoption among government entities appears to be uneven and generally lags behind the private sector. Many agencies struggle to bridge the gap that exists between their existing IT infrastructures, practices, and the value that new digital technologies make possible. However, for some governments, there are entire departments, or pockets within departments, where adoption is robust, advanced and successful.
Everyone agrees that the massive amounts of digital data generated by citizens’ activity represent an incredibly valuable resource. Unfortunately, the ever-expanding data resource is often underutilised today. Public sector agencies struggle to unlock the value of their data due to outdated legacy systems and limited analytics capabilities, being data-rich but insight-poor. They often grapple with the associated, yet unnecessary, challenges of big data – high costs, poor data quality, and inconsistent data sources and formats – without experiencing any of the enticing benefits.
There are many lessons to draw from the events of COVID-19 but perhaps one of the most critical is the importance of being able to use data to prepare for potential scenarios and inform our decision making. Public sector agencies require a multifaceted approach, including the ability to quickly integrate new data, make accurate, multilevel forecasts, and provide data-driven insights for policymakers.
Against this backdrop, having a robust data and AI strategy in place will help the public sector better harness the power of data.
The prevailing question is: What is the successful path to the adoption and deployment of AI?
There is a mixed picture of AI adoption in government, and it is likely owing to an environment that is often risk-averse, subject to myriad legislative hurdles and vast in its reach. That being the case, the use of AI has expanded beyond discrete use cases and experiments into wider adoption. There are obvious signs which point to the potential explosion of AI adoption even though gaps in capabilities and strategy are apparent.
Pursuing their missions every day, government agencies spend much of their time focused on operational issues. That time-consuming focus is required in government departments and offices that are held accountable for achieving clearly defined missions. If they fall short, the consequences can be devastating – for the citizens they serve, as well as for the government organisation itself.
In that context, it’s easy to see how AI remains a second-tier priority for some government leaders who have operational roles. This presents government leaders with a paradox. Many have no time to fully embrace AI due to everyday demands, but those AI advances could be instrumental in unlocking real, measurable operational improvements that have the effect of reducing strains on resources and giving them more time to fulfil their mission.
In light of this, how can people understand which AI capabilities are most likely to be adopted in government? What are the biggest untapped opportunities for AI adoption in government? What obstacles and challenges unique to the government are most important to understand today to ensure progress tomorrow?
The OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 3 December 2021 aimed at imparting knowledge on how government agencies can accelerate, innovate and transform their advanced analytics capabilities, make data an integral part of …….