June 10, 2023

After ChatGPT burst on the scene final November, some authorities officers raced to ban its use. Italy banned the chatbot. New York Metropolis, Los Angeles Unified, Seattle, and Baltimore College Districts both banned or blocked entry to generative AI instruments, fearing that ChatGPT, Bard, and different content material era websites may tempt college students to cheat on assignments, induce rampant plagiarism, and impede crucial pondering. This week, US Congress heard testimony from Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, and AI researcher Gary Marcus because it weighed whether or not and easy methods to regulate the know-how.

In a speedy about-face, nonetheless, a number of governments are actually embracing a much less fearful and extra hands-on method to AI. New York Metropolis Colleges chancellor David Banks introduced yesterday that NYC is reversing its ban as a result of “the knee jerk worry and danger neglected the potential of generative AI to help college students and lecturers, in addition to the truth that our college students are taking part in and can work in a world the place understanding generative AI is essential.” And yesterday, Metropolis of Boston chief info officer Santiago Garces despatched tips to each metropolis official encouraging them to start out utilizing generative AI “to grasp their potential.” Town additionally turned on use of Google Bard as a part of the Metropolis of Boston’s enterprise-wide use of Google Workspace so that each one public servants have entry.

The “accountable experimentation method” adopted in Boston—the primary coverage of its form within the US—may, if used as a blueprint, revolutionize the general public sector’s use of AI throughout the nation and trigger a sea change in how governments at each stage method AI. By selling higher exploration of how AI can be utilized to enhance authorities effectiveness and effectivity, and by specializing in easy methods to use AI for governance as an alternative of solely easy methods to govern AI, the Boston method may assist to scale back alarmism and focus consideration on easy methods to use AI for social good. 

Boston’s coverage outlines a number of eventualities wherein public servants may wish to use AI to enhance how they work, and even contains particular how-tos for efficient immediate writing.

Generative AI, metropolis officers had been instructed in an e mail that went out from the CIO to all metropolis officers on Could 18, is a good way to get began on memos, letters, and job descriptions, and may assist to alleviate the work of overburdened public officers. 

The instruments may assist public servants “translate” government-speak and legalese into plain English, which may make vital details about public companies extra accessible to residents. The coverage explains that public servants can point out the studying stage or viewers within the immediate, permitting the AI mannequin to generate textual content appropriate for elementary college college students or particular goal audiences.

Generative AI may assist with translation into different languages so {that a} metropolis’s non-English talking populations can take pleasure in equal and simpler entry to details about insurance policies and companies affecting them. 

Metropolis officers had been additionally inspired to make use of generative AI to summarize prolonged items of textual content or audio into concise summaries, which may make it simpler for presidency officers to interact in conversations with residents.

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