The nuances of governing with AI

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to become a fundamental part of public services, offering benefits in citizen engagement, policy analysis, and decision-making. Chief Data Officers (CDOs) in cities anticipate AI will enhance government operations, starting with tasks like drafting documents using natural language tools. Boston’s CIO Santiago Garces exemplifies the potential by using AI, specifically ChatGPT and OpenAI’s Code Interpreter, to analyze 311 call center reports efficiently.

However, implementing AI comes with challenges. Users must have a grasp of coding and statistics to interact effectively with AI tools, as AI may misinterpret complex requests. Additionally, the contextual and tacit knowledge that humans possess, gained through lived experiences, is crucial, especially in addressing complex urban issues that involve multiple stakeholders and lack clear-cut solutions.

While AI can assist in capturing tacit knowledge, striking a balance between AI proficiency, tacit knowledge integration, and thorough review of AI-generated analyses remains a significant challenge. Chief data officers and their teams are expected to play a pivotal role in overseeing AI-driven analysis. Overall, integrating AI into governance requires ongoing adaptation, technical expertise, and respect for the insights derived from human experiences.