A person in a purple shirt holds their hands out. Above their hands hovers a transparent and white image of brain circuitry. Texts reads Artificial Intelligence.

Municipal clerks strive for efficiency and clear communication with residents. Enter AI-generated content, a rapidly growing field that can be a double-edged sword for local government offices. Let’s delve into the hazards and benefits of this new technology:

The Power of AI

  • Enhanced Communication: Imagine AI whipping up personalized permit applications or crafting clear, concise public notices. This frees you up for complex tasks and resident inquiries.
  • Streamlined Workflows: Repetitive tasks like generating reports or summarizing meeting minutes can be automated with AI, saving you valuable time.
  • Multilingual Outreach: AI translation tools can help bridge the communication gap with non-English speaking residents.

Hazards to Consider

  • Bias and Accuracy: AI models are only as good as the data they’re trained on. Biases in the data can lead to discriminatory outputs. Be cautious and double-check anything AI generates before sharing it.
  • Transparency Concerns: If residents aren’t aware content is AI-generated, it can erode trust. Always be clear about the source of information.
  • Job Displacement Fears: While AI creates some jobs, it might automate others. Focus on upskilling yourself to manage AI tools effectively.

Moving Forward with AI

Here are some tips for navigating the world of AI-generated content:

  • Research Before You Use: Choose reputable AI tools with clear ethical guidelines.
  • Start Small: Don’t try to automate everything at once. Pilot AI in a low-stakes area and monitor results.
  • Human Oversight is Key: AI should be a helpful assistant, not a replacement for human judgment. Always review AI outputs carefully, and edit to reflect your office’s voice.

AI-generated content is here to stay, and local governments need to be prepared. By understanding its potential drawbacks and leveraging its strengths responsibly, we can harness AI to improve efficiency and better serve our communities.

Remember: Communication is key. Keep your council and residents informed about your use of AI and address any concerns proactively.

Check out these articles from Route 50 and ICMA for more takes on the role of AI in local government

Just a note that OnBoardGOV doesn’t use AI, but it can still make your board and committee management faster and easier.