Sullivan County Highlighted at Google AI Conference

NEW YORK CITY – Dan Hust, Sullivan County Director of Communications, traveled to New York City on Wednesday to participate in a panel discussion on utilizing AI (artificial intelligence) in government.

Along with three other speakers, Hust presented to several hundred attendees of Google’s Public Sector GenAI Live + Labs conference in a seminar titled: “Harnessing the Power of AI for the Public Good: Innovative Applications in New York.” The event was held at Google’s new 350,000-square-foot office complex at Pier 57 along the Hudson River in Manhattan.

Hosted by Google, the conference was intended to showcase the company’s new generative AI solution, called “Vertex,” and how it can assist agencies serving the public interest. Hust’s presentation stood out as a small-scale, rural application of this AI, through the County’s web-based chatbot named “Saige.”

“I wanted to show how it’s possible for a lightly populated, upstate municipality to still undertake industry-leading steps to better serve taxpayers,” explained Hust. “I focused on the fact that we had Saige up and running in under three months with just two County employees – myself and Director of Application Development & Support Andrew McCabe – assigned to the project by County Manager Josh Potosek and Information Technology Services Commissioner Lorne Green.”

Hust shared examples of how AI has been utilized by Sullivan County to better understand what information people are seeking and how to provide that information as quickly and automatically as possible. He noted that the County Clerk’s phone call volume dropped by nearly two-thirds within four months of the chatbot’s debut.

“It was able to answer questions like ‘Where are you located?’ and ‘What are your hours?’ – freeing up our staff to focus on the more complex needs of the public,” he noted. “We aren’t implementing AI to replace staff but to complement and support them.”

The panel discussion was well-received, with many attendees impressed with Sullivan County’s decision to implement this new AI before virtually any other similarly-sized municipality in the nation.

“I was honored to have had the opportunity to share our experiences and successes in harnessing a small piece of AI’s potential for the public good,” said Hust. “And I am proud to be part of a team dedicated to utilizing cutting-edge technologies to enhance efficiency, transparency, and accessibility in serving our community. The future is wide open, and we look forward to improving and expanding generative AI’s capabilities at the local level.”

He also encourages the public to ask questions of Saige and to let it know when it’s gotten an answer right or wrong by clicking “Helpful” or “Not Helpful,” as it will learn from this feedback. To try out the new tech, visit and click on the dialog box in the lower right hand of the screen.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email