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How AI Chatbots Are Becoming a Talking Point


This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “7 State & Local Tech Trends to Watch.” Download the full guide here.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is powering chatbots for state and local governments. Chatbots use AI to simulate human conversation, and agencies nationwide are finding them valuable for constituent and information services.

Chatbots improve efficiency without draining costs and burdening humans. They improve access to resources by directing citizens and freeing time for government employees. Additionally, chatbots help organizations by collecting information on what constituents want from them. This data helps agencies better understand their customers.

AI is still considered an emerging technology, but chatbots are aiding governments with recruiting, human resources (HR) and constituent correspondence today.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has an AI chatbot that’s helping to fill its ranks. “Officer CHIP” was created by the Mayor’s Innovation Team and now helps LAPD with hiring and recruiting.

Officer CHIP is a variant of a chatbot the city’s Information Technology Agency (ITA) launched in July 2017. The City Hall Internet Personality (CHIP) has helped boost residents’ access to information and reduce the strain on HR professionals. JoinLAPD. com is the city’s first website to adopt CHIP since then.

Today, Officer CHIP helps LAPD improve its hiring and recruiting programming and tools. It answers basic and recurring questions, letting humans address rarer ones. This shrinks the department’s call and email volume while also speeding up the application process for candidates.

“The overarching goal is to make it easier for police recruits to learn about what it means to be a police officer,” Amanda Daflos, Director of the Mayor’s Innovation Team, told Techwire in February 2018.

Officer CHIP began with a collection of 500 questions and answers. It now helps LAPD better understand candidates’ recruitment experiences. This is no small feat, as thousands of calls flood the Personnel Department of the LAPD’s Public Safety Division monthly.

Officer CHIP’s ability to grow through new knowledge illustrates AI’s powerful elasticity. This flexibility makes AI chatbots a cost-effective solution that helps agencies work more efficiently and with greater impact.

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