Case study: The AI-powered policymaker

5 February 2024

I have used ChatGPT to create a series of case studies to help illustrate my ideas recorded in my article ‘The promise and perils of AI in shaping tomorrow’s think tanks and foundations


In the bustling city of NeoVille, amidst the skyscrapers and green boulevards, Sarah McKenna stands as an influential policymaker. Responsible for urban planning, she frequently faces challenges that demand data-driven solutions and timely decisions. Enter “Atlas,” her AI-powered assistant. Atlas is not just a program; it’s an embodiment of advanced AI algorithms, designed to help policymakers like Sarah in their decision-making processes.

Setting the Scene

Sarah’s latest challenge is the redevelopment of NeoVille’s ageing downtown area. The project is vast, with multiple stakeholders, from residents and local businesses to environmentalists and historians.

Atlas in Action

  • Data collection: As soon as Sarah verbalises her need, Atlas starts collecting data. It pulls up real-time information regarding the population density, historical significance, local businesses, traffic patterns, and green spaces of the downtown area.
  • Stakeholder engagement: Sarah expresses a desire to understand the public’s view. In mere seconds, Atlas simulates a public sentiment analysis based on recent social media posts, online forums, and digital town hall meetings, offering Sarah a snapshot of the public’s hopes and concerns for the redevelopment.
  • Scenario simulation: Sarah asks, “Atlas, what if we introduced more green spaces and pedestrian zones?” Atlas instantly provides a visual representation, simulating increased foot traffic, potential boosts in local business revenues, effects on air quality, and public sentiment reaction.
  • Expert consultation: For historical sites, Atlas connects Sarah to a digital avatar of NeoVille’s top historian. The historian, combined with AI insights, provides guidelines on preserving the historical essence of certain sites.
  • Funding analysis: Delving into budgetary concerns, Atlas offers a breakdown of potential costs, sources of funding, returns on investment, and even suggests grants or partnerships that could subsidise the redevelopment.
  • Legislation compatibility: Before finalising her plan, Sarah wants to ensure her proposals align with state and federal regulations. Atlas scans through thousands of legal documents, ensuring the proposed plans are within legal bounds, highlighting any potential issues.
  • Final presentation: With a meeting approaching, Sarah requests a comprehensive report. Atlas creates an interactive presentation, complete with data visualisations, stakeholder sentiments, proposed plans, and more, all tailored to the preferences of the city council members she’ll be addressing.

The outcome

Empowered by Atlas, Sarah enters the city council meeting with confidence. Her data-driven proposal addresses multiple facets of the redevelopment challenge. The council members, impressed by the depth and foresight of her presentation, unanimously approve her proposal.


Post-meeting, Sarah reflects on how policymaking has evolved. Previously, collecting such comprehensive data and feedback would have taken months. Now, with Atlas by her side, decisions are faster, more informed, and better aligned with the needs and aspirations of NeoVille’s residents.

This case study illustrates the potential of AI integration into the world of policymaking. By providing instant access to vast amounts of data, simulating outcomes, and ensuring all decisions are informed and compliant, AI tools like Atlas redefine the art of governance in the modern era.