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AI and machine learning in the public sector: How they’re used now and possibilities for the future

Why AI and machine learning are growing in adoption

October 07, 2019

State and local governments handle massive amounts of citizen data, which has traditionally been stored on paper and processed manually. From birth records and property transfers to car registration, the manual process of preserving and retrieving records has been synonymous with errors, inefficiency and slow service delivery.   
 
With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, things are changing for the better. These technologies provide faster and more accurate data gathering and processing, enabling governments to focus on more complex and long-term social and cultural issues.
 
Yet improved record keeping is just one way AI and machine learning are being used in the public sector. These technologies are also being used in the following ways:
 
Preventing crime: AI and machine learning help authorities track and manage the huge amount of data generated by public surveillance devices, and analyze that data in real time for anomalies and threats. Law enforcement agencies also use AI to track missing children and known criminals using image and voice recognition capabilities.
 
Providing citizen services: AI helps to automate processes like generating bills, processing payments, answering queries, routing complaints to the proper authorities and issuing or renewing documents that don’t require a high-level of authorization.
 
Planning and policy-making: Some agencies use AI to gather public opinion by analyzing social media trends, which can help inform public policies. AI can also support city planning by analyzing traffic flow, traffic signal timings and the condition of roads.
 
How might governments use AI and machine learning in the future?

Consider these possibilities—some of which are already up and running and others that are still simply ideas:

  • Identifying spreading diseases early
  • Recognizing and reporting objects in photographs and videos, such as guns, waterfowl, cracked concrete
  • Generating dynamic data dashboards to help answer citizen questions
  • Identifying fraudulent benefits claims
  • Translating between languages automatically
  • Finding possible health code violations
  • Predicting car congestion and car accidents
  • Analyzing the tone of emails
  • Keeping up with cybersecurity threats as they morph and evolve
  • Anticipating road infrastructure maintenance and replacement needs
  • Suggesting additional services and resources to citizens who are applying for something
  • Anticipating water infrastructure failures
  • Predicting crime and suggesting optimal police patrol presence
  • Guiding a citizen to appropriate services by deciphering questions regardless of phrasing (e.g., “How do I file my taxes?” or “Where do I go to file my taxes?”)
As AI becomes more and more ubiquitous, government agencies are devising an ever-expanding list of ways to use it.  That can mean good news for solution providers in the public sector.
 
To learn how you can help government agencies use AI and machine learning to their advantage, contact the Ingram Micro public sector team.