City CIOs urged to lay the foundations for generative AI

Article by Sarah Wray: “The London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI) has produced a collection of guides to support local authorities in using generative artificial intelligence (genAI) tools such as ChatGPT, Bard, Midjourney and Dall-E.

The resources include a guide for local authority leaders and another aimed at all staff, as well as a guide designed specifically for council Chief Information Officers (CIOs), which was developed with AI software company Faculty.

Sam Nutt, Researcher and Data Ethicist at LOTI, a membership organisation for over 20 boroughs and the Greater London Authority, told Cities Today: “Generative AI won’t solve every problem for local governments, but it could be a catalyst to transform so many processes for how we work.

“On the one hand, personal assistants integrated into programmes like Word, Excel or Powerpoint could massively improve officer productivity. On another level there is a chance to reimagine services and government entirely, thinking about how gen AI models can do so many tasks with data that we couldn’t do before, and allow officers to completely change how they spend their time.

“There are both opportunities and challenges, but the key message on both is that local governments should be ambitious in using this ‘AI moment’ to reimagine and redesign our ways of working to be better at delivering services now and in the future for our residents.”

As an initial step, local governments are advised to provide training and guidelines for staff. Some have begun to implement these steps, including US cities such as BostonSeattle and San Jose.

Nutt stressed that generative AI policies are useful but not a silver bullet for governance and that they will need to be revisited and updated regularly as technology and regulations evolve…(More)”.