<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://analytics.twitter.com/i/adsct?txn_id=nzjkn&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0"> <img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="//t.co/i/adsct?txn_id=nzjkn&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0">
Polco News & Knowledge

AI is Here. Are Local Governments Ready For It?

ai in local government

Find out how your peers are using AI in local government and what they think about the technology's potential. 

It took humanity thousands of years to transition from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age. With each passing year, technology advances exponentially. Today, AI use is ramping up at an exceptional speed. Understandably, some local governments may be overwhelmed or hesitant to adopt AI. 

However, AI presents an opportunity to transform and enhance local government decision-making with its ability to analyze seemingly limitless data. To stay ahead of the curve, governments must embrace change. But is this something they are ready to do? 

In this webinar hosted by ICMA, Polco leadership discusses how local government leaders feel about AI, how the public sector currently utilizes the technology, its potential uses, and how organizations can create a culture that embraces innovation. 

AI in Local Government Readiness

Despite AI's growing prominence, most organizations in the public and private sectors are still in the early stages of adoption. 

Many government leaders say they are curious about AI but have yet to start exploring its uses. Others are experimenting with large language models (LLM), like ChatGPT, for writing content such as press releases. Most have not done anything with AI at all. 

But AI's capabilities extend far beyond generative content creation, like what's currently hyped up with  Large Language Models (LLMs), like Open AI. LLMs are impressively powerful but have broader, more generic uses. 

Alex Pedersen Ai in local government“The local government space needs something that is specifically intelligent about the needs of local governments,” said Alex Pedersen, Polco’s co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO).
“Something that can help with local government reporting, with data organization, with strategic planning, with budget development and refinement with resident engagement and so much more.”

ai in local government

The Biggest Potential Use of AI in Local Government 

Polco's AI analyst, Polly, is designed specifically for the public sector to produce government performance analytics with ease. 

Polly, the first and only AI analyst for the public sector, is trained on Polco's large databases of resident opinion and government performance metrics curated by data science experts into one AI system. Polly is limited to working off these databases, presents verifiable statistics, and cites its sources, making its analysis much more reliable. 

Governments can quickly discover their performance metrics and how they compare to others. This fast analysis is helpful for decision-making, crafting policy, budget allocation, and more. 

Because Poly is easily accessible and user-friendly, AI like this gives all governments large-scale community data insights for maximally informed decision-making.

tobin mckearin AI in local government“AI really makes this data easier to access, easier to grasp, easier to understand, easier to present, start using it if you will,” said Tobin McKearin, Polco VP of Data Science. 

While Polly is still in its training phase, soon, the AI will be able to predict future problems, monitor real-time changes, and offer solutions to community problems. 

Challenges to AI Adoption in the Public Sector

While AI like Polly has transformative power for governments and the communities they serve, there are a few obstacles that may block implementation. 

Many government professionals say a lack of AI policies, resources, and expertise, along with concerns about data security and privacy, are top concerns. Resistance to change and fear of job displacement also hinder progress.

Michelle. Kobayashi AI in local government"We've had that long-standing kind of fear of innovation resistance to change that we need to figure out how to move around,"said Michelle Kobayashi, Polco’s Principal Research Strategist.”So once we start putting our decisions into the hands of technology, we just have to make sure we have that collaborative relationship with technology." 

Kobayashi notes that most governments do not have an AI analyst on staff, so a tool like Polly does not replace a human worker. Instead, it fills a gap. 

AI in Local Government

Three Components For Successful AI Adoption

  1. Culture: Adopting AI is all about change management, Kobayashi says. Innovative organizations often have better decision-making processes; they share the same vision, are collaborative and communicative, and value stakeholder engagement. 

Kobayashi says the most essential component of AI implementation is a growth mindset. i.e., Are you going to start looking at innovation? Are you risk-tolerant? 

  1. Human Capital: Many governments do not have the capacity to hire AI specialists. However, the beauty of AI is it’s not overly technical. Most people can learn to use it.  But Kobayashi says governments need people who are champions and change agents to motivate their organizations to innovate.

  2. Tools: Investing in the right tools and technologies such as Polly is essential for a successful AI implementation. You need to get the right tool to have a good experience and gain confidence using AI. Establishing policies and frameworks ensures responsible and ethical AI usage. 

While the journey towards AI adoption in local government may present challenges, it also offers significant opportunities for innovation and improvement. By addressing cultural barriers, investing in the right tools, and embracing change, organizations can pave the way for a more data-driven and efficient future.

Ready To Start Using AI Now? 

Sign up for a free Polco account to get limited-time access to Polly. See how Polly works and access your government performance metrics. (The account comes with two bonus Polco data tools!)

Register for a Polco Account

Related Articles 

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

featured report

Featured Report

Download your copy of "Make Informed Decisions with Confidence: Solving The Community Engagement Puzzle" today!