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How and where is artificial intelligence in the public sector going? A literature review and research agenda

To obtain benefits in the provision of public services, managers of public organizations have considerably increased the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. However, research on AI is still scarce, and the advance of this technology in the public sector, as well as the applications and results of this strategy, need to be systematized. With this goal in mind, this paper examines research related to AI as applied to the public sector. A review of the literature covering articles available in five research databases was completed using the PRISMA protocol for literature reviews. The search process yielded 59 articles within the scope of the study out of a total of 1682 studies. Results show a growing trend of interest in AI in the public sector, with India and the US as the most active countries. General public service, economic affairs, and environmental protection are the functions of government with the most studies related to AI. The Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) technique is the most recurrent in the investigated studies and was pointed out as a technique that provides positive results in several areas of its application. A research framework for AI solutions for the public sector is presented, where it is demonstrated that policies and ethical implications of the use of AI permeate all layers of application of this technology and the solutions can generate value for functions of government. However, for this, a prior debate with society about the use of AI in the public sector is recommended.


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