Survey Launch: How should local government use generative AI like ChatGPT?

Open AI launched ChatGPT in 2022, and in under a year has captured the public imagination, attracting over 100 million users faster than any other internet service or website in history. ChatGPT, which is built on Open AI’s GPT algorithm, is an example of generative artificial intelligence (AI), a category of AI which produces new information (usually text or images, but can also do audio or video) based on prompts to an algorithm trained on trillions of data points.

Experts anticipate that these AI tools might have a large impact on how we all work. Indeed, some of these 100 million users are already in local government. Unlike other types of technology uptake, the users will be spread across councils and not necessarily from ‘digital’ or ‘IT’ teams. For example, generative AI might help individuals to write briefings, identify problems in coding, or create visual designs for communication campaigns. As well as these general users, organisations like councils will increasingly find ways to incorporate generative AI into their business processes, their service offerings, and their existing software – for example, in summarising transcripts of call logs.

However, these types of generative AI must also be used responsibly. The algorithms may be trained on or produce harmful or biased content, and have flaws hard-wired in like ‘hallucination’, where the algorithm ‘makes up’ information to respond to a prompt. Whilst developers seek to mitigate these problems, ultimately, users like local government are accountable for the tools they use, so need to develop responsible practice themselves.

Whilst some guidance has emerged – for example from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – more specific advice is needed. Therefore, to explore what good and appropriate practices for local government might be, LOTI is running a short survey to identify how generative AI is currently being used in local government, or how it might be in the future. We welcome thoughts, ideas, or feedback from anyone with a view on the use cases and accompanying responsibility for local government, in particular, those from:

  • Local government (or other public sector) from the UK and beyond, including those in digital teams and not
  • Developers of generative AI who are creating use cases;
  • Researchers or academics;
  • Civil society, community groups or campaigners;

The survey will run until May 26, 2023. If you have any questions or thoughts, please write to

Image by Alan Warburton / © BBC / Better Images of AI / Quantified Human / CC-BY 4.0

Responsible AI

Sam Nutt
26 April 2023 ·
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