REI Insights

The Dos and Don’ts of AI in Government
January 24, 2024
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Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to greatly enhance and modernize government processes, leading to improved efficiency, accuracy, and decision-making, ultimately resulting in better services for citizens. However, the integration of AI into government operations presents unique challenges that require careful consideration. This white paper provides government agencies with insightful best practices and pitfalls to avoid during the adoption of AI.

In the following sections, we will share practical dos and don’ts for agencies aiming to harness the power of AI while maximizing benefits and minimizing risks. We will explain how to select the right AI solution based on factors such as mission impact, solution feasibility, available technologies, data requirements, security implications, ethical considerations, and stakeholder engagement.

Do: Understand the Objectives, Priorities, and Feasibility of an AI Solution

Before embarking on AI integration, conduct a thorough needs assessment to comprehend your objectives. Clearly define goals and identify inefficiencies or challenges that AI technology can address. Evaluate how a specific AI technology can enhance program productivity, speed, and cost effectiveness. Identifying opportunities, pain points, challenges, or bottlenecks that can be mitigated through AI will help you focus on areas ripe for improvement. You want to use AI in the areas that will have the largest and most valuable program impact.

Prioritize projects that significantly enhance citizen services and government processes. Identify areas where AI can provide the most value, such as expedited service delivery, improved decision-making, or optimized resource allocation. Focusing on high-impact projects can showcase tangible benefits and create momentum for broader AI adoption within your organization.

Identify processes that can benefit from enhanced automation. Seek out rule-based or repetitive tasks that AI can automate, streamlining workflows and freeing human resources for more strategic tasks. Prioritize automation opportunities that yield measurable improvements in accuracy and efficiency.

Perform an AI Readiness Assessment to evaluate the practicality of implementing AI in terms of time, resources, and return on investment (ROI). Assess the availability of skilled personnel, required infrastructure, and computational power necessary for effective AI model training and deployment.

Weigh project costs against potential benefits, encompassing upfront expenses, operational outlays, and potential cost savings. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to ensure alignment with your organization’s budget and strategic goals. In certain cases, the development and ownership costs may outweigh the benefits of automation.

Assess data availability and quality for AI model development. High-quality, relevant data is essential for constructing accurate, reliable, and unbiased AI models. Evaluate your existing data’s availability, quality, and relevance, and identify any additional data needed and how to acquire it.

Determine the appropriate metric or Key Performance Indicator (KPI) based on your data and the problem you are addressing. Ensure metrics align with the unique characteristics of your data. As an example, if you want to classify financial transactions as fraud—accuracy wouldn’t be the best metric. Instead, apply an AI pattern and anomaly detection methods because the model would achieve high accuracy by classifying all transactions as real transactions.

Considering these aspects—understanding the use case, ensuring AI readiness, enhancing accuracy, identifying automation opportunities, starting with manageable projects, assessing feasibility, and setting priorities—lays a solid foundation for a successful AI application modernization. These factors guide your decisions and align your AI projects with your organization’s strategy, yielding clear benefits while staying within budget and resource constraints.

Don’t: Reinvent the Wheel

When considering AI, avoid unnecessary reinvention. Seek existing technologies that can be adapted to achieve your goals, saving time and resources. Not all AI solutions require building from scratch.

Leverage open-source models and services to address common challenges. Well-established frameworks and models like PyTorch, TensorFlow, LaMDA, Hugging Face, and others, developed and maintained by the open-source community, are freely accessible. These resources tap into the collective expertise of the community, accelerating your AI journey.

Proprietary Large Language Models (LLMs), such as Azure OpenAI, ChatGPT, Google Bard, and PaLM2, are offered as LLMs-as-a-service. While they offer development speed and quality advantages, factors like cost, data privacy/security, and vendor lock-in require careful consideration.

Do: Understand the Importance of Data

During AI-driven modernization, data’s significance cannot be underestimated; it serves as the foundation for machine learning and decision-making. Prioritize robust data governance frameworks to ensure data availability, quality, security, and compliance.

Establish robust data governance structures to safeguard data and maintain compliance. Define rules for collection, storage, access, sharing, and retention. Assign roles for data management and create safeguards to protect sensitive information in accordance with relevant regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Gather and handle data responsibly, ensuring data subjects’ awareness and consent. Employ techniques to anonymize personal data while providing inputs for AI. When real data access is limited, synthetic data is a valuable alternative, closely resembling real-world data. Synthetic data can be especially useful when you need specific data, such as names, combinations, or numbers, synthetic data can be very useful.

Synthetic data, although artificially made, behaves like real-world data. It helps train AI models, letting engineers work on algorithms without exposing sensitive information. Techniques to make synthetic data are getting better, making it harder to distinguish from real data. Not all organizations can use data from the internet for training models like ChatGPT. Synthetic data provides the volume of data needed to train AI models with pretty accurate results.

In the future, synthetic data is poised to play a larger role in AI model training. Techniques such as teach via data (TvD) can leverage Large Language Models (LLM) to generate synthetic data, enhancing accuracy and relevance.

Don’t: Neglect Security in Any AI Solution

Securing AI solutions and associated data is paramount. Adopt a Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) approach, enforcing verification for every access request and hardening infrastructure layers.

Protect data by implementing robust security measures, including authorized access controls, encryption, and routine security checks. Stay informed about evolving security practices and address vulnerabilities promptly.

Fully understand the data access and sharing pathways for your AI solution. Check the security practices of third-party suppliers, API protocols, and data sources. Think about potential risks linked to dependencies and make sure everyone involved follows strong security standards and protocols.

Implement granular access controls, strong authentication mechanisms, and continuous monitoring to prevent unauthorized access and security breaches. Examine security practices of third-party suppliers, API protocols, and data sources.

Be vigilant against model hacking, especially with generative AI models. Employ strict input validation, data cleaning, and robust security measures.

Ensure compliance with privacy laws like GDPR or HIPAA and employ data anonymization techniques to Lastly, make sure you follow relevant privacy laws, such as GDPR or HIPAA, when handling sensitive data. Use data anonymization or de-identification techniques to protect privacy while maintaining the usefulness of the AI solution. Proactively perform scheduled vulnerability and threat detection audit reviews, update privacy policies and practices to meet changing requirements and maintain user trust.

Do: Ensure Ethical AI Use

The government has a responsibility to use AI ethically and transparently to foster citizen trust. This can be done by creating and applying clear rules that make sure AI algorithms are fair, unbiased, and respectful of privacy. It involves promoting transparency about how AI models make decisions and ensuring they don’t discriminate against any individual or group. It’s also crucial to regularly review and assess AI solutions to identify and lessen any unintended negative effects.

Assemble a diverse team of experts from fields such as law, data science, data use subject matter experts (SMEs, such as scientists or physicians), ethics, program management, as well as end-users. A variety of perspectives will help address ethical issues better, ensure compliance with laws, and support informed decision-making throughout AI system development and deployment.

While deep learning models may be complicated and hard to interpret, focus on explainability. This involves showing the features that contribute to the model’s result. For example, keywords or indicators can provide insights into how the model makes decisions. A human-in-the-loop approach should be maintained during training, allowing human experts to verify and understand the model’s outputs, instead of just accepting them. This helps to keep compliance, empathy, and human judgment in key decision-making processes.

Don’t: Neglect Stakeholder Engagement

Plan, facilitate, engage, and capture stakeholder participation in all aspects of your AI policy discussions, deployment plans, and impact assessments. Make sure to include a variety of voices, such as those from citizens, government staff, community groups, nonprofits, industry experts, and regulators. This varied input leads to a broader and more inclusive AI strategy.

Listen to and address stakeholder worries around job losses, privacy, and biases in AI systems. Introduce safeguards, rules, and policies that tackle these concerns. Be transparent about the steps you’re taking to ease these worries and build trust.

Clearly communicate both the benefits and the limitations of AI. Explain how AI can improve efficiency and decision-making, but also be open about its risks and potential challenges. This honesty helps set realistic expectations and encourages well-informed discussions.

Involve stakeholders in the development of AI policies. This cooperation ensures you’re fully aware of all the potential impacts of AI. Having stakeholders in policy discussions helps you consider a range of views, skills, and societal values.


Applying proven methods—such as clear objective identification, high-impact project prioritization, feasibility assessment, and leveraging existing solutions—allows agencies to harness AI’s power while minimizing risks. Prioritizing data governance, ethical AI use, and stakeholder engagement promotes transparency and inclusive AI strategies. By adhering to these principles, government agencies can transform operations, deliver efficient services, and shape a brighter future for citizens.

These principles guide the successful and ethical integration of AI into organizational processes. Navigated with diligence and forethought, AI integration offers significant benefits and transformation possibilities.

Embrace AI’s potential to enhance government productivity, improve efficiency, and deliver better services for citizens. REI Systems collaborates with federal agencies to implement cutting-edge AI solutions that enhance mission performance.

Discover our AI capabilities at reisystems.com/capabilities/aiml.

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Contact us at info@REIsystems.com to get started on your transformative AI journey.


Rujuta Waknis
Director Solution Engineering
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Ramki Krishnamurthy
Data Analytics Offering Lead
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