June 4, 2024

How AI in Government Services is Reducing Government Spending and Enhancing Efficiency

Key Takeaways: 40% of the world’s GDP goes back into government spending. Countries around the globe are using AI to manage pressures on government budgets and boost the efficiency of their citizen-support systems.

6 min read

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Paul Estes

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  • On average, 40% of a country's global GDP goes directly into government spending on services and citizen support. 

  • AI is streamlining government operations, reducing pressure on government services by automating support, and increasing the efficiency of existing processes. 

  • Countries like Brazil have leveraged AI to reduce the cost of government spending on waste management by 45.4%. 

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From AI to FinOps, our team's collective brainpower fuels this blog.

On average, OECD democracies allocate 40% of their total Gross Domestic Product to government spending each year. Across the globe, this figure represents trillions upon trillions of dollars each year. 

This critical expenditure covers everything from creating support networks for citizens to paying for waste management in major cities. Governments constantly seek to reduce this expenditure and lower citizens' strain on government services. 

Source - Government spending against GDP per capita. 

Over the last decade, investment in artificial intelligence (AI) services has increasingly become an effective way of reducing pressure on integral government services and reducing spending. Deploying AI in government initiatives allows bodies to optimize management strategies, automate existing processes, and improve data-driven spending.

By introducing AI tools into government systems, governments worldwide are radically shifting how they interact with citizens and provide services across their countries.

AI in Government: Solving Problems Across the Globe

Artificial intelligence has an astounding number of use cases in governmental initiatives. Wherever there is a government system, there is likely a government working on an AI-first automated solution. With the speed, efficiency, and automation gains that artificial intelligence offers, many governments across the globe are turning to AI solutions.

Here are three striking issues that governments commonly face that AI is solving:

  • Citizen Advice Administrative Burden: Each year, thousands of citizens request support or advice from their government support lines. Citizens' support and advice are mandatory communication streams between governments and their citizens. Any citizen can request information or ask for advice on any government-related issue. These open lines of communication create huge administrative tasks each year. AI can automate these chat lines, providing services while reducing the burden on human support agents.
  • Low Safety Rates in Major Cities: Citizen safety is a top priority for governments across the globe, with high percentages of spending going to services like the police. Yet, police are notoriously ineffective at preventing crime, only being able to respond to it. By using AI, governments can more effectively predict where crimes may occur, enhancing the deployment of police officers to decrease crime and save resources.
  • Inefficient Waste Management Systems: Every city has an invisible infrastructure that keeps everything running smoothly. Waste collection and management are vital to running a city, incurring considerable costs in collecting bins and disposing of trash. Governments use route planning and optimization to improve waste collection, decreasing emissions while streamlining city waste collection.

AI in government can reduce the burden on government services by automating processes or enhancing them to reduce governmental costs. 

Let’s explore real-world examples of how AI is solving each of these governmental problems. 

Solving the Citizen Support Crisis with AI Chatbots in Estonia

When soliciting government services in Estonia, citizens frequently used the wrong channels, causing delays in responses and additional pressure on the wrong government services. Estonia’s Chief Data Officer, Ott Velsberg, noted that:

“Police and border control receive over 30,000 requests each year that do not pertain to them.”

Considering Estonia declared access to the internet a fundamental human right in 2019, well over 90% of the country regularly uses the internet. The commonality of soliciting government services over this medium, combined with the misuse of channels that waste time from other important services like border control and the police, led the company to turn to AI solutions.

Estonia delivered an AI virtual assistant to automate citizen support completely. The AI bot, known as Kratt, covers a range of citizen-facing activities, from better job-seeker recommendations to solving tax inquiries.

Beyond just eliminating the 30,000 inquiries each year that go to the wrong government services, Estonia was also able to reduce the pressure on citizen services vastly. 

In light of its early successes, the Kratt chatbot is just the beginning of AI in government spending for Estonia. The country’s government aims to develop further use cases of AI over the next few years, with as many as 38 distinct citizen-serving countries already in development.

For example, HANS is an AI-support tool that uses natural language processing to transcribe Parliamentary sessions, increasing the accuracy and the speed with which government workers can produce transcripts. These public transcripts provide citizens with further insight into each session, promoting a fair democracy for all.

AI in government is transforming how Estonia interacts and supports its citizens. 

Predicting and Reducing Crime with PredPol AI in the USA

From 2015-2017, the number of violent crimes across the USA sharply rose. Reacting to the higher crime rates, the US government turned to artificial intelligence to help predict where crimes would occur and stop them from happening. 

Source: Violent crime offense figures from 2015-2019 in the USA.

In 2011, the US government collaborated with the Santa Cruz Police Department and researchers from several universities to create PredPol, an AI predictive policing software.

PredPol collects and analyzes crime-related data, crime type, location, and date and time. Using artificial intelligence, it generates an area map for specific hours, highlighting where crime is most likely to occur. 

PredPol was able to accurately predict the location in 50% of gun-related grimes and homicides, allowing police departments to deploy officers to an area ahead of time. 

A peer-reviewed study evaluated the use of PredPol in Los Angeles against a team of crime analysts. Across all cases, the analysts managed to predict and prevent 2.1% of crimes. However, PrePol AI achieved a prediction and prevention rate of 4.7%.

AI deployment in government helps keep citizens safe, enhances police deployment systems, and contributes to safer cities in the USA. The mathematical model reduced crimes by 7.4%, saving Los Angeles $9 million years in costs to courts, society, and victims.

The LAPD’s Chief of Staff, Sean Malinowski, comments, "[AI] predictions proved to be popular and has become a key part of how the LAPD deploys predictive policing today.”

How the Brazillian Government is Optimizing Waste Management with Artificial Intelligence

The Brazilian government has been working with the city of Rio de Janiero over the past few years to find a solution to the widespread mismanagement of waste. In Rio, 41.6% of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is disposed of improperly. This creates human health concerns and leads to a range of environmental impacts.

Inefficient collection routes meant bins would overflow, creating unpleasant neighborhoods for residents, creating unsanitary conditions, and attracting pests. Poor collection planning and scheduling meant bins were left for far too long. Even during collection, ineffective planning would increase the environmental impact of collection by unnecessarily increasing fuel consumption.

To solve this problem, Brazil is turning to AI in government initiatives, introducing artificial intelligence systems to plan and organize waste collection in major cities. Artificial intelligence analyzes transport routes, computing local traffic and transit data to map more precise and practical routes for waste collection.

As a versatile technology, AI could extrapolate from historical data to create a highly effective waste collection plan. The AI tool has rapidly become integral to managing waste in Brazil. Since its introduction, two of Brazil’s largest cities have achieved 100% waste collection efficiency, equaled by only a small handful of other cities in Latin America.

Source – Waste Collection Rates for Select Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Alongside helping to solve the waste management issue in major Brazilian cities completely, the AI tool’s pathway optimization helped the Brazilian government reduce the collection cost by 45.40%. Reducing the total fuel needed to collect a city’s waste helped to reduce total carbon emissions, decrease spending in governmental waste management, and keep Rio de Janeiro clean from trash. 

Achieving 100% waste coverage demonstrates the high efficacy of AI in government initiatives. It provides a dynamic method of cutting carbon emissions while improving the process of collecting and managing waste. 

AI in Government Helps Shape Societies for the Better

Whether it's waste management, crime prevention, citizen support, or something else entirely, AI in government is a powerful solution that lends itself to several central use cases. Deploying artificial intelligence with governmental services offers higher efficiency, increased automation, and decreased related costs.

As artificial intelligence tools continue to develop and enhance their offerings, we’ll see even more aspects of governmental policy, strategy, and support move toward this technical solution. 

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