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How Can Local Governments Safely Use Generative AI?

A new task force formed by MetroLab is seeking to explore this question, doing so by including more than 45 local governments, alongside other public, academic and private-sector members.

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A new task force will soon consider how local governments can safely use generative AI, with MetroLab Network bringing academia and the public sector together to work on the issue.

The GenAI for Local Governments Task Force will explore how this evolving technology might improve city services, as well as the processes and policies needed to safeguard and ensure “just, equitable and reliable” use. This project is part of MetroLab’s In the Lab program, which aims to produce policy best practices or model templates.

The overall task force is currently made up of representatives from more than 45 local governments, 15 universities, 20 private-sector organizations and others who do related work. The latter includes groups like the Iowa League of Cities, Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE) and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The project is picking up speed, with the nonprofit announcing Tuesday that it had selected five co-chairs for the task force. Those five co-chairs will guide the task force, with four of them coming from the public sector and one from academia. They include Tempe, Ariz., Chief Data and Analytics Officer Stephanie Deitrick; Miami Chief Data Officer Cheriene Floyd; Seattle Interim Chief Technology Officer Jim Loter; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Chief Innovation Officer Emily Yates; and Carnegie Mellon University K&L Gates Career Development Assistant Professor in Ethics and Computational Technologies Hoda Heidari.

Some of those jurisdictions are already active in this work. Earlier this year, Tempe issued an ethical AI policy, and Seattle published interim policies specifically about generative AI.

The task force project is wrapping up its initial research and subcommittee assignments phase. In November, it plans to enter the next phase of the work, which is writing and editing. The final phase, beginning in April, will focus on publishing.

The task force has been compiling a resource library on the topic as well, and that is available here.