Have your say on local government use of AI

Survey by London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI) invites your views – closing date 26 May. 

How can and should local government use generative artificial intelligence, such as language models like ChatGPT or image-generating AI? LOTI is asking for your views on exactly this question.

In recent months, AI has captured the public imagination. Nothing demonstrates this better than ChatGPT, launched by Open AI on November 30, 2022. By January, it had 100 million users – the fastest uptake of a consumer app ever. 

ChatGPT is an example of generative artificial intelligence (AI), which produces new information based on the user’s prompts. To do this, algorithm(s) draw on trillions of data points. 

So far, AI has mostly been used to generate new images and text. But last week, the Republican National Committee in the US made waves by posting a video on YouTube attacking its political rivals. This was, the video proclaimed, ‘built entirely with AI imagery.’  

The video has met with a wide range of responses: praise for the innovation, concern over the ethical implications, debate over the merits of what was produced compared to conventional political ads. Efforts were also made to deduce exactly which AI system was used. 

Many experts think AI tools will have a huge impact on the way we all work, including in local government. Generative AI could help us to write briefings or design the look of campaigns. It might transcribe call logs or analyse data. It’s even been suggested that, in the not-too-distant future, councils will be finding ways to incorporate AI into business processes and service offerings. 

Yet concerns include the potential risks of AI producing harmful or biased content. Just this month, the UK’s data watchdog warned those who use or create generative AI about the dangers of how it can use of personal data. 

More discussion and guidance is needed. That’s why LOTI has launched its short survey into how generative AI is currently used in local government and how it might be exploited in future.  

Loti is particularly interested in hearing from those in local government and the wider public sector, those working in AI, researchers and academics, and civil society and community groups. 

The survey will run until May 26, 2023.  

In related news, last month a new guide was published providing advice to councils and adult social care providers on how best to use emerging technology including AI. 

Photo by Geralt.


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