Inside a large room in the Fort Worth Convention Center, city of Fort Worth tech support analyst Joseph Harris sits at a table brainstorming a list of tasks he wants to keep and those he prefers to assign to ChatGPT.
Keep: Human resources and dealing with the public.
Offload: Writing code. Lists of expectations for staff. Letters of recommendation.
Harris and about 90 other attendees from cities across the state spent the day thinking about how the government can use generative artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT and Google Bard during a summit hosted by Strategic Government Resources’ Alliance for Innovation on Oct. 19.
Artificial intelligence saw a boom of interest after the introduction of ChatGPT in November 2022. Since then, Fort Worth Report has reported on local startups utilizing the technology. In the first quarter of the year, AI startups raised more than $1.6 billion in funding, according to a report by PitchBook. Concerns about misinformation, job loss, copyright infringement and plagiarism related to generative technology — artificial intelligence capable of generating text, images or other media — are growing.
Employees in the local government are already using the technology, exploring ways to make their jobs more efficient and how to use it ethically.
Harris, who works in the IT department to support Fort Worth’s City Council, said he uses ChatGPT for tasks such as writing procedures for new employees and writing code and patches.
Other attendees during the event said they used generative AI to write job descriptions and generate a customer service survey. Harris said he still has to look over and edit the ChatGPT responses but, overall, it’s helped.
“It’s going to increase productivity 1000-fold one day,” Harris said. “I mean, you’re looking at the future.”
Attendees of the summit received a book titled “1,001 Prompts for Unlocking Generative AI in Local Government,” and a packet of tips for using the technology. Suggested uses include writing emails, press releases, job descriptions, ordinances and reports. Attendees also worked with various prompts to explore how ChatGPT works.
Michael Sherrod, entrepreneur in residence at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business, predicts there is going to be a “tsunami of innovation” at companies and organizations because of generative AI tools. There will also be misinformation and other dangers.
“This is going to create unbelievable confusion, and you will have to engage your critical thinking skills,” Sherrod said. “Every time you look at social media, every time you look at news feeds, you’re going to have to figure out, is this real? What’s the agenda behind it? Who created it?”
Sherrod encouraged city employees and officials to constantly monitor the use of AI to ensure it’s used responsibly.
Carlo Capua, chief of strategy and innovation at the City of Fort Worth, said the city is crafting guidelines on how to use artificial intelligence and generative AI.
The rules will explain what the technology is, and what city employees should and should not use it for. Capua said his office has used ChatGPT for tasks such as writing job descriptions and eliminating duplicate emails from a list.
“I think it’s important to be curious and explore this,” Capua said. “And we can do it slowly and responsibly.”
Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @sbodine120. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.