AI use grew among states during the pandemic, NASCIO says

Written by Colin Wood
Oct 26, 2021 | STATESCOOP

State governments adopted new applied sciences backed by synthetic intelligence at a heightened charge during the pandemic, however in survey outcomes revealed Tuesday by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, state know-how leaders mentioned workforce and strategic deficits may impede additional adoption of AI.
NASCIO, working with IBM and the Center for Digital Government, collected information from 48 state IT officers in 34 states, 60% of whom mentioned their organizations have been utilizing some sort of AI know-how, similar to customer-assistance chatbots or robotic course of automation to streamline administrative work. According to the survey, this statistic represents “broad beneficial properties” in AI adoption with state authorities, in comparison with pre-pandemic figures, earlier than the well being disaster generated demand for info and companies, particularly at well being, small-business and unemployment-insurance companies.
“The COVID-19 pandemic introduced the proper enterprise case for a lot of state CIOs to undertake AI and it has been useful to the expedited supply of companies to residents,” NASCIO President and Maryland IT Secretary Michael Leahy mentioned in a press launch.
Call facilities in lots of states grew to become overloaded during the pandemic as unemployment claims spiked together with requests for steerage on the well being disaster and extra help for small companies. Chatbots, which had been underneath imprecise consideration in lots of states, have been rapidly authorized — and sometimes launched inside a matter of days — to assist subject the sudden inflow of requests for support. NASCIO in June revealed an analogous report exhibiting that 75% of states launched chatbots to help in pandemic response.
Fifty-six % of IT leaders additionally shared optimism that AI may “remodel” their organizations inside one to a few years, although some CIOs famous that efficient AI instruments require a big time funding.
“I feel there’s nonetheless a misunderstanding or underappreciation for what it actually takes to do that — the dedication to do that,” Massachusetts CIO Curtis Wood says in the report. “I feel the reward is nice; however it’s worthwhile to have the funding upfront, you want the proper folks at the desk and it’s important to commit.”
But AI didn’t at all times ship on each entrance, the report discovered. While instruments like robotic course of automation are marketed as a cost-saving instrument, solely 13% of respondents mentioned AI saved their organizations cash.
States have been proven to use AI broadly. Utah, as an example, makes use of AI to help transportation, agriculture and surroundings companies, in addition to extra widespread makes use of, similar to fraud detection and customer support. 
While the outcomes present that AI probably obtained a lift in states from the pandemic, CIOs have been anticipating the advantages of automation applied sciences for a number of years. When NASCIO in 2019 requested CIOs which rising applied sciences they believed could be the “most impactful” inside the subsequent three to 5 years, 65% named AI.
When requested about the greatest barrier to long-term adoption of AI, 75% of respondents chosen “a transparent framework for AI use and governance.” And when requested about the “greatest bottleneck” to AI adoption, 79% of IT leaders pointed to “a scarcity of expert employees coaching in AI,” highlighting a persistent workforce problem in state authorities. 

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AI, NASCIO, pandemic

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