Hay River testing artificial intelligence for communications

The Town of Hay River says it is trialling artificial intelligence to help prepare material for some of its communications with residents.

Assistant senior administrative officer Patrick Bergen told town councillors on Monday that the municipality is “testing the use of artificial intelligence” in some circumstances.

Various AI applications have made headlines in recent months, from tools like Midjourney – which can create realistic images based on text prompts – to ChatGPT, which provides answers to users’ questions in a form of online conversation.


AI is also being introduced to search engines. Some Bing users can now search the web using an AI interface, while Google is carrying out limited testing of an equivalent tool named Bard.

On a broad level, concerns remain that AI tools to search the web or generate answers aren’t always accurate. They sometimes reproduce false or misleading information found online, an error known as hallucination.

But having been trained on a vast online resource of written material, AI apps are increasingly used to handle tasks like editing text or writing summaries of dense information.

“The system is good at crunching large of pieces of information into something readable,” Bergen said.

“It’s also good at grouping large amounts of data and summarizing it. That will speed up some of the releases that go out.”


It’s not clear if any of the town’s communications to date have been published with the assistance of artificial intelligence.

Bergen told councillors that recent requests from journalists had been “fairly routine” in that they focused on breakup season, which has proceeded quietly to date, and were handled by senior administrator Glenn Smith.