How Artificial Intelligence Will Usher in the Next Stage of E-Government

Daniel Castro at GovTech: “Since the earliest days of the Internet, most government agencies have eagerly explored how to use technology to better deliver services to citizens, businesses and other public-sector organizations. Early on, observers recognized that these efforts often varied widely in their implementation, and so researchers developed various frameworks to describe the different stages of growth and development of e-government. While each model is different, they all identify the same general progression from the informational, for example websites that make government facts available online, to the interactive, such as two-way communication between government officials and users, to the transactional, like applications that allow users to access government services completely online.

However, we will soon see a new stage of e-government: the perceptive.

The defining feature of the perceptive stage will be that the work involved in interacting with government will be significantly reduced and automated for all parties involved. This will come about principally from the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) — computer systems that can learn, reason and decide at levels similar to that of a human — into government services to make it more insightful and intelligent.

Consider the evolution of the Department of Motor Vehicles. The informational stage made it possible for users to find the hours for the local office; the interactive stage made it possible to ask the agency a question by email; and the transactional stage made it possible to renew a driver’s license online.

In the perceptive stage, the user will simply say, “Siri, I need a driver’s license,” and the individual’s virtual assistant will take over — collecting any additional information from the user, coordinating with the government’s system and scheduling any in-person meetings automatically. That’s right: AI might finally end your wait at the DMV.

In general, there are at least three ways that AI will impact government agencies. First, it will enable government workers to be more productive since the technology can be used to automate many tasks. …

Second, AI will create a faster, more responsive government. AI enables the creation of autonomous, intelligent agents — think online chatbots that answer citizens’ questions, real-time fraud detection systems that constantly monitor government expenditures and virtual legislative assistants that quickly synthesize feedback from citizens to lawmakers.

Third, AI will allow people to interact more naturally with digital government services…(More)”