Theresa Pardo, University at Albany – Artificial Intelligence

On University at Albany Week: Do you trust artificial intelligence?

Theresa Pardo, research associate professor, examines the avenues to helping people trust computer intelligence.

Theresa A. Pardo, Ph.D. serves as Director of the Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, State University of New York (CTG UAlbany). Dr. Pardo also serves as Special Assistant to the President of the University at Albany, as a full research professor in Public Administration and Policy, Rockefeller College and as an affiliate faculty in Information Science, College of Emergency Response, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. Under her leadership, CTG UAlbany, an applied research institute, works with multi-sector and multi-disciplinary teams from the U.S. and around the world to carry out applied research and problem solving projects focused on digital transformation, service innovation and value creation in the public sector.

Dr. Pardo serves as OpenNY Adviser to New York State’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, is Chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Advisory Committee and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. She serves as a member of the User Working Group of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center, the Business and Operations Advisory Committee of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Steering Committee of the North East Big Data Innovation Hub. Dr. Pardo is a founding member of the Smart Cities, Smart Government Research Practice Consortium, served as Chair of Oman’s Excellence in E-Government Award Jury in 2015 and 2020 and is an advisor to the E-Government Committee for the China Information Association. She is a Past-President of the Digital Government Society and a member of the Steering Committee for the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV). Dr. Pardo serves on a number of editorial boards for journals in the fields of digital government and public administration including Government Information Quarterly and Public Management Review and is co-developer of the top ranked academic program in Information Strategy and Management offered by the University at Albany. Dr. Pardo has over 200 publications and is ranked among the top scholars in her field in terms citations to her published work.

In 2018 and 2019, Dr. Pardo was named a Top 100 Influencers in Digital Government globally.  She is a recipient of Government Technology Magazine’s Top 25 Doers, Drivers, and Dreamers Award which recognizes individuals throughout the U.S. who exemplify transformative use of technology to improve the way government does business and serves its citizens. Dr Pardo is a recipient of the Digital Government Society’s Distinguished Service Award, the University at Albany’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the University at Albany’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Rockefeller College Distinguished Service Award. She holds a Ph.D. in Information Science from the University at Albany, SUNY.

Artificial Intelligence

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Artificial Intelligence allows computerized systems to perform tasks which traditionally require human intelligence.

When it comes to the public sector, the United States, like other nations around the world, is at the very beginning of a long-term journey to develop and harness AI for the public good.

But while AI can yield many benefits it also raises concerns about bias, privacy, and transparency. Addressing these concerns requires us to systematically consider the trustworthiness of AI, and to build our collective ability to ensure that AI systems reflect societal priorities and ethical principles.

These numerous, converging issues led the National Academy of Public Administration to identify “Making Government AI Ready” as one of the key “grand challenges” facing the public sector today.

I recently had the honor of working with several National Academy Fellows to develop a white paper on the key elements of AI and its public administration and policy drivers.

We put forward a set of recommendations for government administrators in 2021 and beyond, including:

  • Raising awareness of and resolving the ethical issues associated with AI;
  • Developing governance to protect against unintended bias and ensure transparency;
  • Ensuring that the benefits of AI are available to all; and
  • Developing an AI-ready workforce;

The recommendations call for a balance between the risks and rewards of AI and for governments to invest in their roles as both stewards of and effective and appropriate users of AI. 

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