According to a poll released in 2019 by the Center for Digital Government (CDG), the National Association of Chief Information Officers, and IBM, just 13% of state governments, use artificial intelligence in some non-core element of their operations. However, the same survey three years later gave dramatically different findings. This week, Joe Morris of CDG presented some of the study’s 2021 findings at the NASCIO Annual Conference in Seattle. It was evident that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted how state and local governments think about AI.
In 2021, 60.4 percent of state respondents said they had utilized AI for digital assistants in the previous year. Natural language processing (47.9%) and robotic process automation (47.9%) were also popular (37.5 percent). Staffing concerns have been a significant source of concern in the government’s use of AI and machine learning. A shortage of professional people trained in AI was cited by over 80% of the states polled as a bottleneck to the technology’s implementation. There are, of course, more classic concerns about robots displacing humans and rendering human labor obsolete.