Artificial intelligence is having a big impact across domains, including government services.
Recent advancements to artificial intelligence can equip: (1) accountants, auditors, analysts, bureaucrats, comptrollers, public officials, legislators, oversight committees, and members of their staffs, and (2) the public, journalists, and government watchdog organizations, to better make sense of and interact with public-sector data.
Recent advancements to artificial intelligence can also enhance public opinion polling and surveying.
Civic Technology and Open Government
According to Wikipedia, “civic technology enhances the relationship between the people and government with software for communications, decision-making, service delivery, and political process. It includes information and communications technology supporting government with software built by community-led teams of volunteers, nonprofits, consultants, and private companies as well as embedded tech teams working within government.”
“Open government is the governing doctrine which maintains that citizens have the right to access the documents and proceedings of the government to allow for effective public oversight.”
Public-sector Websites and Services
Award-winning government websites include those of Mississippi (https://www.ms.gov), which provides a dialogue system on its front page, and of Utah (https://www.utah.gov/), which provides live chat support.
There are opportunities to contribute to the modernization of other government websites and services, e.g., data.gov, performance.gov, and usaspending.gov.
Important scenarios to consider include, but are not limited to, providing decision-support for users preparing to vote and for users preparing to select a city to relocate to. Multimodal conversational AI can enhance both of these scenarios.
In the first scenario, decision-support for voting preparation, users preparing to vote could review the public data of their cities, counties, states, and federal government.
In the second scenario, decision-support for selecting a city to relocate to, users preparing to relocate to a city could interact with data from multiple cities while comparing analytics and performance indicators of interest to them in their decision-making processes.
Artificial intelligence systems, virtual opinion pollsters, can perform structured, semi-structured, and unstructured surveys, questionnaires, and interviews across a number of communication channels.
With natural-language processing, virtual opinion pollsters can perform open-ended questions, e.g., follow-up questions which might explore explanations, rationales, justifications, and argumentation of respondents’ previous answers.
In addition to being able to perform predefined lists, or sequences, of questions, virtual opinion pollsters can traverse larger trees or graphs of questions, with paths branching, or varying, based upon respondents’ answers.
Users will soon be able to ask natural-language questions and engage in multimodal dialogues about large-scale, public-sector financial, accounting, and budgetary data, receiving responses comprised of language, mathematics, charts, diagrams, figures, graphs, infographics, and tables.
Human-computer interaction scenarios involving the Web are of interest to the group. So too are multimodal conversational interactions with AI systems. Multiple users could, together, speak with remote AI systems using smartphones or smart speaker devices while viewing AI systems’ responses in the form of streaming video content, visual analytics dashboards, displayed on connected smart televisions.
The new Civic Technology Community Group will bring together those interested in civic technology, open government, and artificial intelligence to share information, to discuss these topics, to advance the state of the art, and to ensure that the Web is well-suited for these applications.
Interested group participants are also invited to consider entering the group’s election processes to serve as Chairs.
Thank you. Please consider forwarding this information to any others interested in these topics.