Sagamihara mayor uses AI for the first time to draft assembly statements

In an address to the local assembly, the mayor of a city near Tokyo has demonstrated how generative AI can be used to draft texts for officials.

The Sagamihara municipal government has been experimenting with the use of an artificial intelligence tool since last year.

The software was developed domestically by leading electronics company NEC. The city is looking into using the system to increase administrative efficiency while ensuring data security.

The city says this is the first time the AI program has been used extensively for an official duty. The software was trained with data on assembly deliberations over the past three years, and it drafted the mayor's responses to four proposed questions. The drafts were then revised.

On the question of how the city government plans to use the AI, the answer given by the mayor was: "It is important that city employees experience the benefits of the software, first by being informed of its functions and effectiveness, and then by being encouraged to use it to build up achievements."

The assembly member who posed the question seemed impressed. He said the reply was just as good as anything written from scratch by a human being.

Mayor Motomura Kentaro admitted that only half of the AI's drafts could be used, because the sentences were too long and also sounded too rigid. He said he wants to train the program with more administrative terminology to improve its accuracy.

Sagamihara City plans to report on the outcome of the demonstration -- including the pros and cons of using AI -- sometime around June.