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AI’s Potential in Government? Ask the Chief Data Officer

Colorado Chief Data Officer Amy Bhikha is playing a central role in the state’s approach to artificial intelligence. She and her peers across the country are joining forces to safely unlock the opportunities AI offers.

Colorado Chief Data Officer Amy Bhikha.
Government Technology/David Kidd
As government begins to navigate past the initial fervor around artificial intelligence and, more recently, generative AI, a clear connection is emerging: a link between solid data management and the ability to take advantage of new technologies like AI.

At last week’s NASCIO Midyear Conference, GT spoke with tech leaders — most in some stage of assembling AI task forces and developing guardrails for safe use — about where the use cases lie.

Many called AI a force multiplier for employees, with the ability to boost morale and make government work more rewarding by helping with tedious, research-intensive parts of their jobs. Others, like Nevada CIO Tim Galluzi, pointed to agency use cases like the state’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

In Colorado, CIO David Edinger has charged Chief Data Officer Amy Bhikha with oversight of how the state uses AI. Edinger noted the exponential growth of data in recent years, but at the same time, there are “not enough people to do anything meaningful with all that data.”

Generative AI, he continued, opens up vast new possibilities.

“Generative AI has the ability to flip that paradigm and bring us back to a place where we can now take advantage of the huge quantification of data that’s out there in a way that really drives value,” he said.

Here, Bhikha reveals that several of her counterparts across the country are also playing a central role in how their states approach the technology, pointing to what the future might hold in Colorado.

Noelle Knell is the executive editor for e.Republic, responsible for setting the overall direction for e.Republic’s editorial platforms, including Government Technology, Governing, Industry Insider, Emergency Management and the Center for Digital Education. She has been with e.Republic since 2011, and has decades of writing, editing and leadership experience. A California native, Noelle has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history.
Lauren Kinkade is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.