After ChatGPT burst there last November, some government officials rushed to ban its use. Italy ban chatbot. School districts of New York, Los Angeles Unified, Seattle and Baltimore either access prohibited or blocked to generative AI tools, fearing that ChatGPT, Bard, and other content-generating sites might tempt students to cheat on assignments, induce rampant plagiarism, and hinder critical thinking. This week, the US Congress heard testimonies from Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, and AI researcher Gary Marcus as he weighed if and how to regulate the technology.
In a quick about-face, however, a few governments are now taking a less fearful and more hands-on approach to AI. New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks announced yesterday that NYC is rescinding its ban because “reflex fear and risk have overlooked the potential of generative AI to support students and teachers, as well as the reality in which our students participate and will work in a world where understanding ‘Generative AI is crucial.’ And yesterday Boston City Chief Information Officer Santiago Garces sent guidelines to every city official encouraging that they start using generative AI “to understand their potential”. The city has also enabled the use of Google Bard as part of Boston’s citywide use of Google Workspace so that all government officials have access.
The “responsible experimentation approach” adopted in Boston – the first policy of its kind in the United States – could, if used as a model, revolutionize the use of AI by the public sector across the country and cause a sea change in the way governments at all levels approach AI. By promoting greater exploration of how AI can be used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government, and focusing on how to use AI for governance rather than just how to govern AI, the Boston approach could help reduce fearmongering and focus attention on how to use AI for social good.
The outline of Boston politics several scenarios in which civil servants might want to use AI to improve the way they work, and even includes specific procedures for efficient rapid drafting.
Generative AI, city officials said in an email sent by the CIO to all city officials on May 18, is a great way to start writing memos, letters and descriptions. post, and could help lighten the workload of an overworked public. officials.
The tools can also help officials “translate” government jargon and legalese into plain English, which can make important information about public services more accessible to residents. The policy explains that officials can indicate the reading level or audience in the prompt, allowing the AI model to generate text suitable for elementary school students or specific target audiences.
Generative AI can also help with translation into other languages so that non-English speaking populations in a city can have equal and easier access to information about policies and services that affect them.
City officials have also been encouraged to use generative AI to summarize long chunks of text or audio into concise summaries, which could make it easier for government officials to engage in conversations with residents.