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Jim Loter, currently serving as the interim Chief Technology Officer of the City of Seattle, is deeply involved in managing IT-related projects and understanding how municipal employees use emerging technology, specifically generative artificial intelligence. As part of his role, Loter is focused on implementing AI safely and responsibly within the city, helping match tools to the problems city departments are looking to solve, while also ensuring risks are mitigated and productivity is enhanced.

In a recent episode of the Shift AI Podcast, Loter discussed a new learning initiative that aims to bring city employees together to explore new technologies. He highlighted the importance of understanding how department officials are using AI tools and evaluating their effectiveness. The podcast delves into what it takes to adapt to the changing workplace in the digital age, focusing on remote work and AI advancements.

Loter’s role at the City of Seattle involves providing consolidated IT services for various city departments, including acquisitions, procurement, operational management, IT projects, and application development. He emphasized the importance of partnering with city departments to deliver services that improve the quality of life for Seattle residents. Loter also discussed the development of AI guidelines for the city, which involved engaging multiple stakeholders to ensure policies were guided by common-sense approaches.

One key aspect of Loter’s work is protecting public privacy and data, ensuring that all technology systems, including AI, adhere to existing mandates. He highlighted the importance of human-in-the-loop reviews, focusing on fact-checking, accuracy, and transparency in attributing information generated by AI technology. Loter emphasized the responsibility of city government to identify and manage AI risks, ensuring that the technology is aligned with the city’s goals and values.

Loter’s collaboration with Mayor Bruce Harrell has been instrumental in raising awareness about generative AI among city leaders. He presented the city’s work on responsible AI at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, sparking interest and conversation among attendees. Additionally, efforts are underway to convene a community of city employees interested in learning more about AI technology and how it is being implemented within the city. The overwhelming interest from employees demonstrates a strong desire to engage with new technologies and understand their impact on city operations.

Overall, Jim Loter’s work as interim CTO of the City of Seattle focuses on responsibly implementing AI technology, collaborating with stakeholders, and educating city employees on the use of AI tools. By prioritizing transparency, accountability, and alignment with the city’s values, Loter aims to ensure that AI is utilized effectively to benefit Seattle residents and improve city services. His efforts underscore the importance of adapting to technological advancements while upholding ethical standards and protecting public interests.

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