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How Can Government Technology Leaders Make AI a Reality?

As we head into the rest of 2024 and the buzz around artificial intelligence continues unabated, here's advice on how government can make practical use of the new tech — and ensure it remains secure in the process.

blue wave of data with soft-focus buildings in the background
Adobe Stock/fajar
Show of hands: Who believes that 2024 got here too quickly?

The beginning of last year found government technology leaders digging through legacy technologies while hoping they wouldn't have to respond to another crisis. They managed technical debt while keeping an eye on how technologies are shifting under their feet. The end of last year comprised a frenzy around artificial intelligence that pushed government into a corner to fight their way out with executive orders and legislative changes to get their arms around this fast-moving technology. What does 2024 have in store for you all? Great question — we are going to try to answer it.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room: AI. The frenzy has not subsided, but is instead gaining speed like a boulder rolling down a hill. Governments are seeking out the right use cases that can be replicated in their environment. Governors, legislatures and local elected leaders are working hard to ensure the use of this technology meets the needs of the community and is developed in a transparent ethical way. Government technology leaders need all-important use cases to make their business case to dive deeper and impact change.

So what do you need to make the use of AI a reality?
  • A solid definition and understanding of the technology — where it is today and where it's going.
  • Potential business use cases developed with your business partners, because technology alone is never the place to start. It is always about how technology can modernize the business of government.
  • The right business processes, from procurement to legal to human resources, to enable the technologies.
  • The right skill sets that can lead efforts, operationalize results, and learn and grow as the technology evolves to ensure that the entire team is leveraging the technologies.
  • The right partners with the right products, services and knowledge to assist government business and technology leaders.
  • The successful best practices from your peers that are emerging from the frenzy and be replicated in your environment.
  • Keeping an eye on e.Republic's* new Center for Public Sector AI to get the latest and greatest info to help your efforts.

AI is a game-changer for governments of all sizes. Having the right people coupled with the right partners is paramount to success. Sharing what partners have learned from around the country benefits everyone!

After you get your arms around AI, you will need to dive into the security and data privacy issues that just never go away. Cybersecurity continues to be your No. 1 priority based on your responses to our Center for Digital Government* (CDG) surveys. In fact, it has been that way for over a decade. Data privacy just adds another layer of complexity to everything else you are trying to accomplish. New cybersecurity frameworks are being promulgated by thought-leading agencies like MS-ISAC and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

What do you need to leverage new guidance surrounding cybersecurity and data privacy? The best resources available to help educate and guide your team to be the safest they can be:
  • Utilize the free resources from MS-ISAC and CISA whenever possible to supplement your cybersecurity efforts.
  • Learn best practices from data privacy officers from around the country by connecting with our CDG Chief Data Privacy Officer Council.
  • Work with our Cybersecurity Advisory Council, where top-notch CISOs are working together to make positive change.
  • Participate in the CDG Chief Data Officer Council, which brings together privacy, cyber risk management and AI.
  • Team with partners where you can to help drive current cybersecurity and data privacy knowledge to your team through thought leadership content and shared best practices.

Government technology leaders know that AI, cybersecurity and data privacy are critical areas that we must pay attention to and learn from. We at the Center for Digital Government, the Center for Digital Education* and the Center for Public Sector AI are here to help in any way we can. We are simply a digital communication away. Here is to an amazing 2024!

*The Center for Digital Government, Center for Digital Education and Center for Public Sector AI are part of e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company.