Bootstrapping Government Open Data with AI

by | Jan 28, 2018 | Open Data and AI

Governments around the world are releasing open data with the expectation that this digital commodity will fuel economic growth and productivity. With increased openness and access to information, new data-driven products and services will offer consumers more choices and increased personalization leading to greater market efficiencies.

As the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with our various digital platforms become ubiquitous, smart open data platforms will have the potential to transform our open data markets. While it has been recognised that a prolific release of government data may not be enough to improve transparency and public trust, open source AI has the ability to simplify and filter this information making it more ‘user friendly’ for public consumption.

In fact, AI could effect a similar transformation to the supply of Government Open Data by bootstrapping the supply process itself. With sufficient training, smart data platforms may one day be able to self-determine which datasets are suitable for public release and which might compromise privacy. More than that, machines could be trained to monitor the changing formats of newly released open data and seamlessly process them to meet evolving usability requirements.

The nature of open data implies that it is essentially internationally borderless, yet the release of government open data, and the data itself, is by country, state and local government. Data sovereignty and the onus on governments to commit to supporting greater transparency through open data provides a rich database with interesting insights. AI will play a key role in identifying data gaps by country, and help identify new open data taxonomies that transcend international boundaries and allow for a deeper understanding of international comparisons. This work examines these taxonomies more closely and draws linkages between different meta-data definitions and categories.

AI also has the potential of changing the way we view and compare government open data across countries, and this has new implications for current open data metrics such as the ‘Global Open Data Index’ and the ‘Open Data Barometer’. Rather than just providing a common benchmark or an international standard that countries strive to adhere to, AI may provide citizens and their respective countries with a new data paradigm that delivers a level of data personalization specific to their needs.

Of course, for AI to be effective it needs to be ‘fueled’ by a sufficient amount of open data and this relies on on-going support from governments through various open data policies. As we enter an increasingly cognified world, government open data augmented with AI may deliver new sources of data and unleash new data consumption possibilities. In this new world of smart open data platforms there be better market efficiencies, increased potential for improved sources of data, more user friendly open data, country-personalized data diagnostics and, most importantly, improved government transparency.

1. The views presented belong to the author and are not necessarily those of any Government.

© Copyright 2018

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About Dr. Audrey Lobo-Pulo

Dr. Audrey Lobo-Pulo is a Senior Advisor at the Australian Treasury and is an advocate for open government and the use of open source software in government modelling. Originally a Physicist working in high-speed data transmission, Audrey moved into economic modelling and has experience working across a wide range of policy issues including taxation, housing, social security, labor markets and population demographics. Audrey’s current passion is bringing data science to public policy analytics. She is also an advocate for inclusion and diversity in the workplace.

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