I've been telling you this week about the shining prospects for AI (artificial intelligence) in helping governments manage emergency response and analyze public policy. While it's easy to hype the potential of this technology, we also need to recognize that its power also raises serious questions about privacy, fairness and ethics.
The urgency that we address all of these issues is only growing as we adopt AI more quickly due to the COVID pandemic. We need the potential support it offers as quickly as possible - and in our rush to adopt it, we may find down the road we're suffering from unintended consequences (loss of privacy, unintentionally biased decision-making, and more).
Fortunately, there are leaders and groups who were already starting to think about these issues. And, perhaps most importantly, they are thinking about those issues in the practical world of delivering public services in state and local government - taking the academic concepts from the ivory tower and figuring out how to practically apply them in our messy, every day lives.
This article introduces those leaders (in NYC and Philadelphia city government) and several think tanks who are working to deliver practical results and applications. I offer this as a resource for everyone to get familiar, learn more, and reach out to them if you want to start dealing with these issues in your jurisdiction. These topics are coming at us much faster than I suspect most of us realize.
“There are a lot of different organizations out there, some very well intended and some just trying to sell snake oil,” he said. “If you are the IT person in the county court and your administrator wants you to choose a technology to help with this, you might not have the right background to evaluate the different systems. You might not even know the right questions to ask.”