This California city is exploring the use of artificial intelligence to improve public services

This California city is exploring the use of artificial intelligence to improve public services
This California city is exploring the use of artificial intelligence to improve public services

Saint Josepha city in Californiais experimenting with artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their public services. The GovAI Coalitionannounced last November, is an initiative led by the San Jose Chief Information Officer Khaled Tawfik, to establish responsible standards in government use of this technology. More of 300 local, state and federal agencies participate in this coalition.

The use of AI in San José includes a pilot to detect objects on the street, such as potholes, graffiti, overgrown vegetation and cars parked in bike lanesThe intention is to change the city’s model from being reactive to being proactive, intervening before citizens report problems.

In interview with The Wall Street Journal, Khaled Tawfik noted that “immediate detection of graffiti and keeping neighborhoods clean can reduce crime.” Another use focuses on assistants for government employees, from taking notes to reviewing long documents and identifying research areas.

The use of AI in San José includes a pilot to detect objects in the street, such as potholes and graffiti. (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

However, Tawfik warns against the direct use of AI in interacting with the public, highlighting cases where this technology provided inaccurate information. He emphasizes that “it is essential that there be a human review between the preliminary and final response”.

Looking ahead, Tawfik sees that AI can improve numerous repetitive tasks carried out today by government agencies. For example, for the initial reviews of building permit forms and other paperwork, AI could identify discrepancies, speeding up the review process.

It also believes that AI can simplify the language of legal documents for the public, improving citizen participation and awareness. Furthermore, he highlights the capacity of AI for translation and transcription of meetings, adapting to people’s information consumption preferences.

Khaled Tawfik mentions that keeping neighborhoods clean can reduce crime. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

“We can do a lot of analysis and see problems that we don’t see today. “AI has great potential to identify potential security issues, which would allow us to redesign or reconfigure the way we do things based on real data and patterns that a standard computer or standard human eye can’t really see,” he told WSJ.

For him traffic flowAI is seen as a potential tool to “help remove obstacles and highlight areas where a road might need to be redesigned.”

Although Tawfik is cautious about use of AI in the fight against crime, recognizes that if concerns about equity and bias are properly addressed, this technology could bring significant improvements. However, he clarifies that they are not yet ready to implement it in that area.

Another potential benefit of AI is in the provision of services to low-income people. Technology could detect problems before they become major problems, facilitating the provision of services according to needs and not just at the request of citizens. According to Tawfik“it is no longer about providing services where they are requested, but where they are needed.”

 
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