About Public Sector AI

(Image generated by DALL-E with the prompt, "public sector employee". Usage of this generated image is meant to address the question, 'did I really need it?')

This site was launched in March 2024, amidst a flurry of activity at a national (United States) and global level. Every day, news about artificial intelligence reaches our inboxes, social media platforms. Media outlets want to discuss when humans might be replaced by AI, CEOs are busy salivating over a world in which they are reduce headcount for supposedly more reliable machines.

We've been here before.

Questions to ask

Like with every technology trend, it's important to ask ourselves:

  • What is this?
  • Who is it for?
  • Who does it harm?
  • Who does it benefit?
  • What does this mean for me?
  • What role do I play in this?
  • What are the actual use cases, beyond marketing materials, and vague statements?
  • Can I achieve my goal without this?
  • Who am I leaving behind?

These are especially pertinent questions for public servants, especially those of us who wield and use technology and tools to serve the public. Our jobs are not to 'tinker with new technology'; our jobs are to ensure that technology works as best as it can for the most number of people that it can, and that we do so in a way that is accessible, inclusive, that does not cause harm. Often, new technology is not the best technology for our use case.

However, we are still required to stay on top of developments so that we can better evaluate the tools and services that vendors and consultants try to sell us. The least we can do is to develop AI literacy, and to really truly understand this space, and then to share it as widely as possible.

Who we are

This project was started by Adrianna Tan, who is the Director of Product Management at San Francisco Digital Services. All opinions expressed in this series are expressly her own, not her employer's.

If you're interested in joining the project, email news@publicsectorai.tech. The only requirement is that you are a public sector employee, and not a vendor or consultant.