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Artificial Intelligence is gaining ground steadily in the public sector

June 28, 2019 by Lape Runsewe

AI is gaining ground steadily in the public sector

What does AI mean for our public services? Whilst it won’t go as far as turning your MP into a robot (not yet anyway!), it’s gaining ground in various ways to make services more effective and efficient.

It’s estimated that majority of the world’s data, approximately 80 per cent – is held in formats difficult to use before AI emerged. It may be held as unstructured documents, both electronic and hard copy, or as video or audio. And this applies in government as much as anywhere else. AI can basically analyse these files, recognising the content of images, videos and text and then help people to understand them and use them to make informed decisions.

AI Technologies present diverse and impactful benefits for government

So AI in its widest sense refers to computers simulating human abilities and performing tasks that people typically do, using technologies such as cognitive computing, predictive analytics, robotic process automation and machine learning. Benefits are really diverse and for the public sector, include the following:

  • Safer citizens – Police bodies can use AI to outsmart criminals. AI is starting to be used to plan surveillance and police patrol routes to guard against terrorism and other threats. In addition, recent advances in video analytics that can interpret facial sentiment and bodily disposition are adding enhanced security capabilities to mitigate such risks.
  • Improved UK Departmental Services – AI is being explored to help staff by taking away the tedious, repetitive tasks from employees and save work hours. Employee time can then be redirected to more important tasks. AI is speeding the assessment of benefits eligibility, resulting in faster citizen satisfaction and ensuring that incidences of missed or improper payments are reduced. AI can also identify instances of tax evasion by the analysis and interpretation of many different unstructured sources of data. (Source: Deloittes)
  • Protecting the vulnerable – AI can help to break down government silos, analysing huge volumes of disparate data sources from different departments to serve citizens and protect vulnerable populations. Child welfare agencies are using AI to help identify children at risk and to recommend interventions to prevent abuse.
  • Better value for money – AI technology can be used to make sense of complex acquisition regulations, so that departments can speed the process of buying goods and services. Doing so could open government procurement to more small businesses and companies that have previously avoided working with government because the acquisitions process has been too difficult to navigate.
  • Improved legislative guidance and settling complex disputes – The ability of AI to navigate mountains of existing legislation, rules, regulations and to determine the impact of change in legislation on other parts of government, especially important where the public demands clear action in complex cases. (Source: Information Age)
  • More contented citizens – AI already plays an increasing role in everyday life – citizens now interact with chatbots online, for example. In the public sector, this can be effective for both citizen helpdesks and IT call centres, providing the citizen with access to insights and expertise derived from the most experienced and knowledgeable employees and delivering that advice in a way that is easy to understand.

Citizen’s expectations are so high these days regarding tech enabled communications and service delivery. The public sector must rise to the challenge and reap the proven benefits of AI underway in the private sector, and also seize the AI opportunity to transform the way both citizens and businesses interact with government in new ways, at both a transactional and communications level.

How Digiterre can help

If you have any questions about AI or are seeking a partner to assist you to harness its opportunities, do get in touch with Digiterre. Digiterre has extensive experience designing and implementing technology solutions across the public sector, energy, banking and investment management industries. We typically deliver technology solutions requiring business agility, adaptability, innovation and a proven track record in order to solve high risk, high profile and complex technical challenges, very well and very fast.

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