Open Data & Artificial Intelligence

The conversation about artificial intelligence (AI) has taken on global proportions, with an active debate between technology leaders promoting its potential for good and those who raise alarms about potential risks. As the debate continues, however, some forms of AI are finding immediate practical applications in data management and quality improvement - for public as well as private and commercial purposes.

The Emerging Citizen Technology Office at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) works with more than 300 government entities to study and present examples of the ways that several new technologies can be used by federal agencies. This page on Artificial Intelligence Programs describes several high-level efforts to apply the technology, and GSA has set up this page to collect Potential Use Cases for AI in government. Examples include the use of chatbots to help users navigate government websites, and the use of AI for government customer service, emergency response, multilingual services, and improving access for persons with disabilities.

While AI can help increase the value of open data in many ways, the reverse is also true: Open data is a critical resource for AI developers to use as a way to train their systems.  This blog post from the World Wide Web Foundation makes the case that open data can “save” AI, while this  interview with Sir Nigel Shadbolt, chairman of the UK’s Open Data Institute, describes why open government data is critical for developing AI (in addition to its other uses) and discusses ways to improve its value as a resource. This blog post on open data and artificial intelligence describes the importance of open or shared data from business as well as government sources, while this video on the use AI in developing automated vehicles also stresses the importance of sharing commercial data to improve AI.


The use of AI is evolving, with new applications emerging rapidly. Please comment on this post to add insights, ideas, and other sources.