The potential power of artificial intelligence (AI) is enormous for government, and it's developing very quickly. But governments as employers are really not ready for it.
Why not? The workforce is not prepared. And not just the technologists. The elected officials, executives, program managers, budget/planning staff, legal, and front-line staff are almost uniformly unprepared to do things like recognize where AI could help, plan for it's use, adopt the technology integrated into other systems, recognize what's 'good' and not, implement ethical management of AI recommendations and analyses, and more.
As a result, even when good technologists can introduce AI in some application to a government, they are met with confusion, uncertainty, and often disbelief. And when a new idea meets that reaction, the result is (you guessed it) to just keep doing what we've always been doing.
So, while the tech is exciting and we have to focus efforts on making it better and (more importantly) finding solid, practical applications for it, we MUST start planning how to prepare the broad workforce of government stakeholders in learning about AI, as well.
The government’s highest priority investment in artificial intelligence needs to be its AI workforce.