Thursday, June 20, 2024

Leveraging AI for Local Govt Efficiency

Source: Dan Barrios

Richardson City Councilmember Dan Barrios is attending a conference. He reports on Facebook, "My first fascinating breakout for the day! It was a packed room and the most popular one yet!"

That led to this comment thread.

Source: Facebook

I admit my contribution was made tongue-in-cheek. But seriously, there used to be someone taking minutes of City Council meetings. The minutes included a transcription of deliberations, or at least a summary, not just the votes taken. AI can easily replace the human for this task.

Each week, the Council would review the minutes (including the summary of deliberations), make any changes needed, and approve them. This process could continue without change, whether the minutes were created by a human or by AI.

Somewhere along the way, recording deliberations in the minutes was dropped. Today's minutes contain only the results of votes taken by the Council. Why? Dunno. But I suspect if you find the answer to that question, you'll find the answer to why the Council is not interested in having transcripts of their deliberations published.

Let's see what ideas Dan Barrios returns with and recommends for Richardson. On Facebook, he listed several ways other local governments are already "using AI to better serve and provide access of government to their constituents." Some of them sound promising, if a bit ambitious for now. For example, "to provide live translation in council." But then he said, "Just wanted to ensure everyone that by me sharing about this breakout I attended is in no way saying that I am pushing for increased AI." Why not? Take the lead. Even if live translations are a reach, how about a summary of the deliberations? He could do worse than using automatic transcription software with AI to generate first drafts of minutes for City Council meetings.

By the way, the conference is the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) 41st Annual Conference.

"Dan at NALEO,
Seeking ways to modernize.
What new thoughts will sprout?"

—h/t ChatGPT

See? I can leverage AI too. ;-)

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

There's an honest difference of opinion in the industry over whether minutes should be action minutes (what Richardson does), summary minutes (what Richardson used to do), or full transcripts (what few try to do).

The City Plan Commission does something more like transcripts than summaries and way more than just action minutes. Maybe because they are trying to supply the City Council with their deliberations to help the Council understand why the CPC voted the way they did, helping the City Council make up their own minds. The City Council ought to include a summary of deliberations, too, to help the public understand why the Council voted the way they did.