Unveiled at the Mayors Innovation Studio at Bloomberg CityLab 2023 with over 100 mayors from around the world, City AI Connect will be a single destination for local government leaders to ideate, develop, and test new utilizations for generative artificial intelligence with peers across cities
Washington, D.C. – Today, at Bloomberg CityLab 2023, Bloomberg Philanthropies convened more than 100 global mayors at its Mayors Innovation Studio and, in collaboration with the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, launched City AI Connect, a new global learning community and digital platform for cities to trial and advance the usage of generative artificial intelligence to improve public services.
Generative artificial intelligence, powered by advanced machine learning algorithms, can analyze vast amounts of data to predict trends, helping cities improve emergency responses, mitigate severe weather events, and target resources for infrastructure enhancements. The technologies can also be harnessed to design creative solutions that can transform government delivery by reducing processing delays, eliminating cumbersome paperwork, and expanding multi-language access to reach many more residents with vital, public services.
However, based on research conducted by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the Centre for Public Impact, a BCG Foundation, while more than three quarters of the 80 mayors surveyed globally reported interest in leveraging generative artificial intelligence to streamline administrative processes, enhance data-driven decision-making, and improve citizen engagement, only 2 percent of the 53 cities surveyed are implementing the technology. Most cited a lack of awareness and insufficient digital fluency and technical expertise as barriers to adoption.
To maximize the potential and expand the availability of generative artificial intelligence learning for local governments, City AI Connect – a web-based platform at cityaiconnect.jhu.edu – will offer officials a single destination to ideate, develop, and test new utilizations with peers across cities. Its purpose is to strengthen the human effort necessary to manage and deploy generative artificial intelligence in city halls, not to replace it. Through social networking features, digital forums, virtual events, and a repository of blueprints and resources, city leaders will have the opportunity to exchange strategies and work with data and technology experts from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University to accelerate implementation in their city halls. In addition to the workspace for cities to share their efforts, safely, with one another, City AI Connect will make aggregated data, anonymized case studies, and the latest insights and trends from cities pioneering generative artificial intelligence publicly available.
“From eliminating processing delays for critical city services – like SNAP benefits, housing vouchers, and drivers licenses – to transforming the ways local government can interact and service residents, there is extraordinary opportunity for generative artificial intelligence to upend the way cities engage with and deliver for communities – for good,” said James Anderson, who leads the Government Innovation Program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “At today’s Mayors Innovation Studio at Bloomberg CityLab 2023, over 100 mayors from across the globe got their hands in the clay of new generative artificial intelligence tools – and committed to participating in City AI Connect so they rapidly discover, develop, and implement applications for this emerging technology – together.”
According to the research:
- More than one third of the 53 cities surveyed reported being interested in leveraging generative artificial intelligence for traffic and transportation (34 percent)
- Other sectors of interest included infrastructure (24 percent), public safety (21 percent), environment and climate (21 percent), education (18 percent) applications
- Among the 38 cities that are currently exploring, testing, or implementing generative artificial intelligence, more than half reported they are using the technology for data analysis (58 percent) and citizen service assistance (53 percent), and current use cases ranged from building new algorithms to inform optimal public transit scheduling or to reduce congestion to designing chatbots that enhance citizen services, including chatbots that expand multi-language access
- While nearly three quarters of cities surveyed shared that they are exploring, testing, or implementing generative artificial intelligence (72 percent), only 11 percent have invested in building staff capacities, and just 13 percent have set policies and guidelines to govern its use
- Among cities who reported not currently testing uses for generative artificial intelligence, opportunities noted for desired future use include to improve resident engagement (93 percent), enhance data-driven policymaking (80 percent), and to optimize service delivery and administrative processes (73 percent)
- Cities reported barriers to adoption, including nearly three quarters of cities who cited insufficient technical expertise (74 percent), lack of awareness (72 percent), and budget constraints (70 percent)
“City AI Connect is designed to support local innovators at the forefront of AI integration in the public sector,” said Ed Schlesinger, Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, host of John Hopkins University’s new data science and translation institute. “Johns Hopkins University will bring our world-class experts in AI, machine learning, applied mathematics, computer science, and computer engineering to support cities in this effort. City AI Connect will strengthen and deepen local government efforts to engage with, and capitalize on, this rapidly expanding technology set, helping urban efforts to advance policy and services, realize gains, and empower cities, to benefit citizens across the globe.”
“From predicting disease spread to preventing homelessness, generative artificial intelligence can radically improve the innerworkings of cities, and introduce new opportunities to deliver for residents,” said Beth Blauer, Associate Vice Provost for Public Innovation and founder of the Bloomberg Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University. “As this technology moves rapidly, City AI Connect will provide local governments with an accessible, vibrant hub through which they can socialize learnings, build partnerships, and transfer implementation knowledge—increasing their ability to adapt tools to local needs—alongside peers driving towards this same mission worldwide.”
Mayors who participated in the Mayors Innovation Studio today span 20 countries and six continents, representing 60 million residents. They include mayors (or officials of equivalent position) from: Adama, Ethiopia; Banjul, Gambia; Besançon, France; Bratislava, Slovakia; Butuan, Philippines; Glasgow, Scotland; Greater Manchester, England; Helsinki, Finland; Hermosillo, Mexico; Kitchener, Canada; Kumasi, Ghana; Liverpool, England; Maipú, Chile; Masaka, Uganda; Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil; Moncton, Canada; Montevideo, Uruguay; Monterrey, Mexico; Quelimane, Mozambique; Quillota, Chile; Renca, Chile; Regina, Canada; Reykjavik, Iceland; San Pedro Garza García, Mexico; Skopje, North Macedonia; Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovnia; South Yorkshire, England; The Hague, Netherlands; Tirana, Albania; Turin, Italy; Turku, Finland; Zanzibar, Tanzania; Aguada, Puerto Rico; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Amherst, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Birmingham, Alabama; Charleston, South Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Dubuque, Iowa; Durham, North Carolina; Elizabeth, New Jersey; Fargo, North Dakota; Fort Collins, Colorado; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Gurabo, Puerto Rico; Hampton, Virginia; Highland Park, Illinois; Hormigueros, Puerto Rico; Huntington, West Virginia; Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Kansas; Knoxville, Tennessee; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Lansing, Michigan; Lincoln, Nebraska; Little Rock, Arkansas; Long Beach, California; Mesa, Arizona; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Missoula, Montana; Mount Vernon, New York; Newport News, Virginia; New Bedford, Massachusetts; New Orleans, Louisiana; Newark, New Jersey; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Paterson, New Jersey; Providence, Rhode Island; Raleigh, North Carolina; Rochester, Minnesota; Sacramento, California; Salisbury, North Carolina; San Bernardino, California; San Francisco, California; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Sandy Springs, Georgia; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Scottsdale, Arizona; Scranton, Pennsylvania; St. Louis, Missouri; St. Petersburg, Florida; Stamford, Connecticut; Tacoma, Washington; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Vancouver, Washington; Washington, D.C.; West Palm Beach, Florida; West Sacramento, California; White Plains, New York; and Youngstown, Ohio.
“Collaboration between cities in the context of generative AI can lead to the development of innovative solutions and shared best practices for urban challenges such as traffic patterns, air quality, energy consumption, and demographic information,” said Mayor Stefano Lo Russo of Torino, Italy. “Generative AI can simulate various urban development scenarios, helping city planners visualize the impact of different management actions. Our digital twin of the city of Torino can be used to perform realistic and dynamic simulations through the generative AI.”
“I am excited about the possibilities generative artificial intelligence has to open new avenues of communication and streamline critical city functions,” said Mayor Indya Kincannon of Knoxville, Tennessee. “By incorporating AI into development services, community engagement, and data management, we as a city can use this powerful tool to best utilize staff and manage information to efficiently meet the needs of our community.”
“There are tremendous opportunities to improve public services utilizing generative AI,” said Mayor G.T. Bynum of Tulsa, Oklahoma. “At the same time, this new technology requires responsibly navigating the balance between privacy, data quality, and innovation. I am thrilled to join Bloomberg Philanthropies for the Mayors Innovation Studio at Bloomberg CityLab 2023 to explore and share best practices for putting generative AI to work in ways that reflect local contexts – whether for transportation management, infrastructure improvement, or community involvement – all while collaborating with a global network of peers.”
“Leveraging generative artificial intelligence presents municipalities with an unprecedented opportunity to create efficiencies and enhance our delivery of critical services,” said Mayor Sandra Masters of Regina, Canada. “I look forward to further exploring these technologies to optimize infrastructure development, improve resident service, and strengthen our City’s internal data-driven decision-making processes.”
City AI Connect is available at no cost for any official local government to use. To learn more about City AI Connect – or for cities interested in registering to participate – visit cityaiconnect.jhu.edu.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed US$ 1.7 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Sam Fuld, Bloomberg Philanthropies