Unlocking AI for Government: Navigating the Journey to Overcome Challenges and Harness the Power of AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) based tools aren’t new. The first working AI program was created in 1951. However, it is fair to say that the buzz and scale of AI tools implementation are new, and government organizations are largely being left behind in this ongoing transformation.

Why is that and what can they do about it?

Fundamentally, governments (at state and national levels) around the world are trying to decide how to manage two competing interests:

  • The desire to have their state at the forefront of the AI revolution to benefit economically and in national security terms.
  • The desire to protect their citizens from potential harms of using AI based tools carelessly.

Both are real concerns that sometimes work together and sometimes don’t. And, often these larger political/national conversations can make leaders at all levels want to sit back and wait. More importantly, as the usage of this application continues to grow across various industry segments, so is its risk impacts- from unintended bias outcomes to determining accountability. Hence, what will be more important for government agencies is to ensure adoption of a safe operating, governance model with right controls and levers to offset the risks upfront even if the AI solution in play is sophisticated and practiced by skilled adopters.

Waiting is a choice, but one that will continue to leave governments falling further and further behind the expectations of the general public.

So, what is the real opportunity and obstacles of using AI tools in government?

The opportunity is to make government more efficient and effective.

  • Imagine a world where government social workers don’t have to manually call other offices to make sure their cases are getting all the resources they qualify for? An AI tool can constantly make that happen.
  • Imagine a world where AI tools help procurement officials understand ways to find cost savings that aren’t possible now.
  • Imagine a world where AI tools can screen the 161 million individual tax filings, 66 million people on Medicare, 45 million people with student loans, 9 million veterans receiving healthcare to make sure these programs are being fair and easy to navigate.
  • Imagine a world where AI bots can manage 75% of questions 24/7 and help citizens navigate the government to find the right points of contact when there are issues.

The US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published that the public spends more than 10.5 billion hours each year completing government paperwork and about $140 billion in potential government benefits go unclaimed each year due to outdated processes.

These are just a few examples from the US that can be applicable to many countries. AI tools can dramatically empower government employees to deliver better services using less time.

Unfortunately, to make the promise of AI tools in government a reality, there are some obstacles we need to address.

  • According to the OMB, only 2% of the Federal Government forms have been digitized. AI tools need access to pertinent data at scale to be useful. So, most government clients will need to spend time investing in digitization before being able to realize the benefits of AI. This is a problem that has plenty of tested and trusted solutions.
  • AI tools don’t replace experience and talents. Give an AI tool to someone without experience, and that AI tool makes them about 20% less effective. Give an AI tool to someone with lots of experience, and that person becomes 30% more effective. AI doesn’t always give you the best answer. Experience and judgment still matter. That’s why it’ll never replace government staff but augment their ability to become efficient and cater to citizen services more effectively.
  • AI is not just a technology overhaul. Its adoption requires radical innovation of workforce talent, and culture. Hence, government agencies should focus on AI skill development and talent gap management to improve on organization’s AI literacy and ability to operate AI solutions safely and responsibly.
  • AI tools aren’t a cure all for bad processes. However, working with partners and leveraging best practices can help organizations fix processes and leverage AI concurrently.

Also Read: Practicing Responsible Artificial Intelligence

AI tools have the potential to transform any organization. However, their implementation needs to be based on tested and trusted experience. Infosys Public Services has that experience with 12,000+ AI use cases, 150+ pre-trained AI models, and 10+ AI platforms. We are using that experience to help clients solve their most pressing challenges.

Over the next couple of months, we will be using that experience to breakdown the AI journey specifically for government organizations. We will share it openly and look to engage with current and potential clients to have a deeper discussion. Stay tuned for more.

Author Details

Christopher Rivers, Data Strategist, Infosys
Christopher Rivers

Christopher is a Data Strategist for the Data and Analytics practice at Infosys. His key areas of interest are Data, Analytics, AI, Innovation, and Government. He is focused on using Data to solve complicated organizational problems by building systems that are both eloquent and cutting edge. He has been driving the strategy for developing next generation data systems.

Christopher has 20+ years of experience in strategies that connect advanced analytics with business operations to drive growth, innovation, and modernization within large organizations. His focus has been to leverage multiple emerging technologies to create innovations that help develop practical and cost-effective solution for the enterprise.

Christopher holds a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and he holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Dr. Suman De, Principal Consultant and Head, Government Healthcare Analytics Solutions, Infosys Public Services
Dr. Suman De

Dr. Suman is head of government healthcare analytics for Infosys Public Services. He has extensive experience in the public healthcare sector and previously worked for the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Indian Public Health Association.

At Infosys, Dr. Suman leads the area of advanced data science and artificial intelligence-enabled population health, social determinants of health analytics, opioid management, care management, and value-based care. He is a frequent public speaker at various healthcare conferences, forums and at major universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Suman is based in Hartford, Connecticut. He holds a medical degree from the University of Calcutta and master’s degree in healthcare administration from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India.