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Is AI the Answer to a Better Government Experience?

From streamlining digital services and improving accessibility to making agencies more efficient, government's responsible use of generative AI can open up new possibilities for improving the citizen experience.

A person blurred in the background holding out their hand palm up in focus in the foreground. Hovering above their palm are the words "Ai" and "ChatGPT" as well as symbols to indicate digital connectivity.
Generative AI exploded into our collective consciousness earlier this year with alternating visions of opportunity and pessimism. Despite differing opinions, there has remained a collective agreement that GenAI will change how we work, find information and communicate.

The possibilities of this technology to enhance government agency responsiveness and gain citizen trust are exciting. Today, 92 percent of Americans report that improved digital services would positively impact their view of government. Imagine, for instance, that the government transformed DMV wait times, benefit access and tax payments — traditionally mundane experiences due to out-of-date technical operations. The dread many face in going through these processes would be alleviated. Public servants and citizens alike deserve the same fluidity in public-sector technical interactions that they experience in their private lives. Yet many agencies, especially at the state and local levels, lack the resources to consistently engage with their citizens. That’s where GenAI can — and is already — helping.


Commercial businesses have already jumped on this technology, demonstrating how GenAI can help solve common customer pain points. One company who has proven GenAI technology’s impact is Wendy’s, who, fearing that long wait times were turning away customers, used GenAI to automate drive-through ordering and speed up the process.

State and local governments have similar citizen pain points — more demand than agency workers can effectively meet — but in many ways, the stakes are higher. Governments have an obligation to understand citizen needs and ensure the accessibility of their services to all citizens, regardless of language, social and cultural barriers.

Consider this: 68 million people speak a language other than English at home in the U.S., meaning government services may be inaccessible or less accessible to millions of people unless a translator is present. By tapping into virtual assistants powered by GenAI, people can learn about and access government services in the language they are most comfortable with. Dearborn, Mich., is just one example of a local government successfully leveraging AI to build translation services on its city website, enabling its citizens who speak Arabic and Spanish to access important information and services.

Beyond translation, GenAI can be used to automate tasks, identify fraud and make better decisions. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, for example, used AI to help speed up its unemployment claim review process and ultimately allow benefits to be issued faster. Now, with GenAI, agencies can take this level of automation one step further and use the technology to help answer questions on review processes. Imagine asking a simple question on the IRS website like, “How do I contact an IRS agent to answer a question about my taxes?” and immediately being directed to a virtual agent or chatbot. It just might make tax season a little less painful.


Seventy-four percent of consumers are more likely to trust brands that prioritize a privacy-safe approach with personal information. And when it comes to elected governments, data protection is paramount.

When implementing a burgeoning technology, like GenAI, infrastructure safety and security should always be considered. In the case of the public sector, maintaining citizen trust is paramount. Products and services brought into agencies, like virtual assistants across city infrastructure, should always have protection guardrails in place.

The federal government also sees this as a priority. This July, the Biden-Harris administration “secured voluntary commitments from [seven leading AI] companies to help move toward safe, secure and transparent development of AI technology.” In August, the Department of Defense, announced a GenAI task force to responsibly and strategically harness the power of AI, led by the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO), called Task Force Lima. Similarly, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer developed a framework for AI guidelines to address national security. Such action demonstrates top-down commitment to helping agencies of all levels remain both innovative and protected.

Given the level of privacy needed throughout regulatory environments, responsible AI implementation across portfolios should never be questioned. The possibilities of GenAI are significant, but only if citizen data used is consistently protected.


Beyond accessibility and data protection, GenAI also has the power to streamline internal processes and help overstretched government employees better connect with citizens.

In a survey from EY, 63 percent of government employees recently shared that “extensive or moderate changes are needed to enhance their workplace digital tools and technologies.” GenAI can drive those changes. This technology helps keep information at the fingertips of public servants, freeing up time for direct engagement with citizens.

State governments are already seeing these benefits. New York state, for example, implemented AI in its call center, modernizing operations and allowing agents to meet New Yorkers faster with real-time answers to their most common and pressing questions and drive valuable relationships.

GenAI provides “extra hands” to enable creative assistance and improve overall operations. Agencies now have an "easy button" where they can automate information retrieval, categorize insights and respond to citizens more quickly.


Innovation like we’ve never seen before has arrived. Industry leaders must continue to embrace the power of AI to better meet citizens where they are while simultaneously creating stronger employee experiences. All the while, responsible implementation of technology should always be top of mind to maintain citizen trust.

GenAI technology can, and will, rapidly redefine the public sector. For state and local agencies, creating a calculated road map to better support citizen experience will allow them to begin their GenAI journey.

Karen Dahut is the CEO of Google Public Sector.