AI Program for Public Officials: Achievements and Learnings from fAIr LAC Jalisco
Constanza Gómez Mont, Founder and President of C Minds, and José Roberto Mejía, Coordinator of fAIr LAC Jalisco from C Minds
Over 3 years, C Minds has contributed to strengthening skillsets on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for public innovation in the state of Jalisco (Mexico), supporting the training of 319 public officials from 69 organizations and government agencies at the state level.
The collaboration with allied institutions, the partners of the fAIr LAC Jalisco initiative, and the regional ecosystem was key to the success of the program, co-designed and led by C Minds, with more than 25 workshop facilitators from 5 countries.
Our goal was to enable a better understanding of how to responsibly leverage technology for the improvement of public services, presenting state of the art practices, tools and resources.
Since the origin of C Minds, we have specialized in designing and implementing knowledge programs for government officials in the areas of public innovation, digital transformation, and technological ethics.
One of our efforts with a profound impact has been the "Responsible AI Program for Public Innovation" that we designed for the Government of Jalisco. The final workshop of this initiative took place in June 2023, and we would like to take advantage of this milestone as an opportunity to reflect on the learnings we have gained and express our gratitute to the people that were part of this effort.
Since 2020, C Minds has co-led a series of workshops, talks, and knowledge exchanges to strengthen the capacities of public officials in the state of Jalisco for the responsible use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for administrative innovation anad more effective and personalized government programs. We led this program as part of our co-initiative fAIr LAC Jalisco, in partnership with the Government of Jalisco, the IDB, and the Tecnológico de Monterrey.
This program was developed to raise awareness about the opportunities offered by AI systems in the public sector, emphasizing its responsible adoption based on human rights and ethical principles. It took a deep dive to understand the potential benefits while also addressing the associated risks. To achieve this, we designed a capacitycapacity-building building program with two tracks: one focused on the general knowledge for any interested government official, and another tailored to the specific topics of the government agencies directly involved in the development of pilots within fAIr LAC Jalisco, such as AI for diabetic retinopathy and gender-based violence, among others.
"We are living critical times for the adoption of AI for the benefit of society, and governments need to understand the technology to harness it responsibly. At C Minds, we leverage our regional knowledge network to provide relevant information, resources, and contacts to achieve the responsible adoption of technology."
- José Roberto Mejía,
Coordinator of fAIr LAC Jalisco at C Minds.
Focusing these programs on specific needs and co-designing them in collaboration with the government was crucial. In this regard, we worked on the definition of content and target audience with dependencies of the state of Jalisco such as the General Coordination of Government Innovation, the Digital Inclusion Directorate, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Substantive Equality between Women and Men, the Ministry of Planning and Citizen Participation, and the Visor Urbano platform. Without their input, a Program with such an impact would not have been posible.
The main topics addressed throughout the sessions were:
Basics of Ethical and Responsible AI
Applications of AI in different sectors
Identification and mitigation of risks
Data governance paradigms for public sector actors
Artificial intelligence for local governments
Best practices and use cases of AI in addressing gender, health, and education issues.
In summary, we work with 319 government representatives from 69 state government agencies and dependencies. More than 25 speakers from 5 countries participated with our team, including other governments like the Government of Buenos Aires, who shared learnings from their AI case studies. At the same time, we integrated the best practices and tools of the IDB Group, international institutions such as UNESCO, and ITU Development Bureau, as well as case studies from TeleDX,Atexto, Instacrops, Data Género, and Fábrica de Bots, among other participating institutions both from Mexico and other regions.
The implementation of the Program has yielded tangible achievements and relevant insights for the AI ecosystem in Jalisco and beyond:
There is a latent need to learn more about AI from the public sector: AI is gaining ground in its application as a tool for addressing social problems in the public sector. Undoubtedly, its rise as a trending technology based (including generative AI systems) has accelerated interest in its use and adoption, transforming the life cycle of public policies throughout the region. This generates two clear needs: first, to understand the technology, its scope, and its potential benefits for personalizing public services, expanding their reach, and improving cost-effectiveness; second, to comprehend the challenges and risks involved, recognizing the need for a responsible development and use that respects human rights.
Content-based on real needs: The co-design of the program with partner organizations for each of the modules, managing agile iteration and validation processes is a fundamental process for these type of programs.
Clarity of audience: The success of the program largely relied on identifying the expected profiles of participating individuals (work area, expertise, and areas of interest) and defining a recruitment strategy to ensure an audience that matched the level and type of content, thus ensuring a satisfying user experience and goals achievement.
Creating networks: Beyond the learnings from each session, the formats themselves are just as relevant since the objective is also to help exchange experiences among the participants and create networks of public officials than enhance peer to peer continuous learnings. An ecosystem-approach to learning must be a key factor.
Jalisco as a regional case study: From having a Chief Artificial Intelligence for the state government and the development of numerous case studies of the application of AI systems that have been generated for topics such as territorial development, agriculture, health, and transportation, among others, Jalisco has been leading action in Mexico. In addition, through fAIr LAC Jalisco, the skill-building of public organizations for the adoption of technology was strengthened, and the generation of solutions that took into account AI ethics was increased.
Starting from the basics: Before having deep dives on AI, the AI literacy divide and basics such as data governance have to be covered. For better comprehensive approaches and impact, it is useful to review the foundational blocks such as digital transformation, data, or the public policy cycle before introducing use cases for the use of AI.
Create good practice repositories and leverage existing resources: Although the program provides a profound value to the participants, it becomes essential to also create repositories of existing resources, both from local initiative and from others around the world.
The Program started in 2020 and has grown in relevance hand-in-hand with the current context of AI growth. The popularization of AI due to friendlier interfaces and generative AI, among others, have increased the general interest in technology, and its ability to be adapted to different contexts. For this reason, it is essential that people dedicated to the public administration have a comprehensive and continuously updated knowledge of technology and its applications, supported by knowledge networks and continuous training. There is a great opportunity to increase the government´s institutional capacity to leverage AI to enable solutions centered on ethical principles, Human Rights, and social good.
C Minds we will continue looking for opportunities to work with our partners in programs like this one, exploring expanding this effort in Jalisco, and other entities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
We appreciate the participation of all the people who shared their experiences, knowledge, and time, strengthening the local ecosystem and strengthening ties throughout the region. The fAIr LAC Jalisco initiative is an example that regional collaboration is a driver of real impact, and that Latin America and the Caribbean is a region from where valuable experiences and knowledge are being generated.
Thanks to our workshop speakers and facilitators Gerardo Hernández, José Tomás Arenas, Esteban Gorupicz, Mario Bustamante, Cristina Pombo, Yunive Moreno, Melisa Breda, Patricio Vallone, Santiago Moscufo, Ligdimar Gonzalez, Ulises Moya, Carla Vazquez, Yolanda Martinez, Dino Cantú, Claudia Ramirez, Luz Elena González, Eleonora Lamm, Gaspar González, Pilar Espinosa, Andrea Barenque, and Ivana Feldfeber for sharing key knowledge.
Moreover, are thankful to the people who were key to this Program including C Minds´ past and present team: Jose Roberto Mejía, Constanza Gomez Mont, Lucia Trochez, Cristina Martinez Pinto, and Nicte Cabañas; Mario Arauz, Yunive Moreno, Adriana Diaz, Adriana Aceves, and Nadia P. Mireles of the Gobierno de Jalisco that helped enable this program; Cristina Pombo, Tatiana Vivriescas and Natalia Gonzalez from IDB for making it possible; and Juan Roberto Hernandez, and Tatiana Lefno of Tec de Monterrey for all the input.
Stay tuned for the the narrative report of the AI Program in coordination with the partners of the fAIr LAC Jalisco initiative!