office automation (Sammby/


How AI will impact state governments

What: “Ready for Primetime? State Governments Tune in to Artificial Intelligence,” a report from the National Association of State CIOs

Why: With 58 percent of respondents to a 2018 NASCIO survey expecting artificial intelligence and machine learning to be the most impactful emerging technologies over the next three to five years, NASCIO investigates how the technology is currently being used by state governments.

Findings: A recent Deloitte report outlines four uses of automation: relieving humans of day-to-day tasks; splitting up tasks to allow computers do so some work and humans to supervise; replacing work done by humans; and augmenting work to make humans more efficient or effective at their jobs.

Robotic process automation is making inroads in both back-office and front-office functions, the NASCIO study finds, saving between 40 and 70 percent on labor costs and completing work with near zero error rates.  The North Carolina Innovation Center, for example, is using chatbots to split up some of its help desk work, and Mississippi's citizen-facing chatbot can respond to over 100 inquiries.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is using AI to import real-time weather information, crunch the numbers and develop basic analysis that meteorologists review. Maryland is deploying AI-enabled traffic signals to respond to traffic flow, and Vermont is using AI to predict likely road repairs and identify sign locations ahead of the use of autonomous vehicles. AI and machine learning are also being used for advanced cyber analytics to help IT departments cope with increasing workloads and talent shortages.

Before CIOs dive into AI, NASCIO advised, they should clearly define the problem to be solved, assess the data management and transparency issues and build on existing resources.

Verbatim: “Making AI part of a goals-based, citizen-centric program means using AI as a tool  only if it’s the best way to solve a problem -- not forcing it just because the technology is available."

Read the full report here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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