Luke Jordan, MIT GOV/LAB’s 2021 practitioner-in residence in 2021 (intro Q+A and summary blog), published a policy paper with the Policy Center for the New South. At MIT GOV/LAB, Jordan launched a guide for practitioners on building civic technology and explored different ways artificial intelligence and machine learning can advance democracy that will be shared in a white paper, including a new data set and published report on World Bank aid data. The policy paper builds on this body of work.

AI and the Future of Government: Unexpected Effects and Critical Challenges

By Tiago C. Peixoto, Otaviano Canuto, and Luke Jordan


Based on observable facts, this policy paper explores some of the lessacknowledged yet critically important ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) may affect the public sector and its role. Our focus is on those areas where AI’s influence might be understated currently, but where it has substantial implications for future government policies and actions.

We identify four main areas of impact that could redefine the public sector role, require new answers from it, or both. These areas are the emergence of a new language-based digital divide, jobs displacement in the public administration, disruptions in revenue mobilization, and declining government responsiveness. This discussion not only identifies critical areas but also underscores the importance of transcending conventional approaches in tackling them. As we examine these challenges, we shed light on their significance, seeking to inform policymakers and stakeholders about the nuanced ways in which AI may quietly, yet profoundly, alter the public sector landscape.

Read the full policy paper online from the Policy Center for the New South.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash.