Fixing the Government’s System with AI
Stare at the image on the left. Then stare at the image on the right. Notice a difference?
The left represents the current state of the immigration process – long, messy, and overly complicated. For a non-English-speaking foreigner, hundreds of 8-point font forms are the last thing he/she needs. Fortunately, things don’t have to be this way. In our modern world, technology can simplify this entire process, allowing easy form filing, no lost documents, fast application changes, and simple file transfers. Artificial Intelligence makes this even easier.
Many government forms are only available in certain select languages, making it hard for the rest of the world’s population to apply. While they may be able to afford translators or legal advice, remember that many lack the money to do so – perhaps that’s why they decided to immigrate in the first place. Making government forms available to almost all languages would allow the immigration playing field much more equitable across countries.
If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the change to digital applications, people who live with a lack of reliable technology may be left out. Paper/mail-in applications must still be supported – fortunately, AI makes this possible. Using datasets like MNIST and other handwritten characters, a tool can be built to translate handwritten documents into digital ones, thus still accessing the benefits of a digital system (simple file transfers, no lost documents, etc.)
Government-Issued AI Legal Helpers
Currently, many wealthy immigrants purchase the assistance of immigration attorneys to help them as they go through the complicated system. This leaves poorer immigrants, who cannot afford such services, at an unfair disadvantage compared to their wealthy counterparts. Poorer immigrants instead have to rely on a government handbook to explain the immigration forms. For example, Form I-130 has both the form, as well as an explanation handout:
The explanation is 3 times longer than the actual form! The way to balance this? Make legal assistance equitable and as-accessible as possible. A government-made, AI-powered legal assistant to explain and aid immigrants would be the best solution.
Real-time Wait Estimations
Finally, people waiting for their visa to be processed, for their court case to come, or for the visa backlogs (stemming from demands for visas) have to wait for months, and sometimes even years. For example, an Indian requesting an EB-2 visa will have to wait an average of 20 years, up to 151 years. However, in most cases, immigrants like to have better estimates of their wait times; 20 to 151 years is a terrible prediction! Using AI to take into account the backlogs, staff numbers, USCIS efficiency, form lengths, etc. could allow such a technology to be created.
Clearly, Artificial Intelligence (and Deep Learning) can be used to revolutionize the USCIS’ Immigration System, and perhaps even sooner, other systems of the government (tax-filing [although TurboTax already does a great job], corporation creations, patent filing, etc.). The Diversity Visa Lottery Program (a small part of the US immigration system) is one example of a government system using online forms.