AI has a lot of uses in government applications:
- In providing better services online,
- Making sure that people are aware of what benefits and rights they have,
- How they AI can help everyone achieve a better quality of life.
For example, if you’re eligible for some particular service, refund or payment, AI can remind you automatically of it. If you’re late some deadline for something to file or take action about, AI can remind you about it and make sure that it is easier for you to comply. AI can also explain the pros and cons associated with different actions that you can take. There is a beneficial application and a compliance element in both. I think AI will help society as a whole be a better society, that complies more, that benefits more and also that works hand in hand together as a society to achieve a better outcome for absolutely everyone. At the same time, taking off some of the burden that is often unnecessarily imposed due to an bureaucratic processes that do not actually address the root cause, will increase efficiency and help those that want to innovate and be entrepreneurial and generate new wealth for society move faster and unhindered.
Apart from digital services, AI will also help different sectors in government for example in enforcement, police and also making sure that things like education, healthcare and a lot of services that are provided by government are run more efficiently. In an emergency, AI can also help in making sure that there is an adequate and fast response, with the best possible logistical deployment of resources. When it comes to energy and critical national infrastructure, AI can ensure that there is better hedging, better understanding of risks and better use of existing elements like the energy grid system. In transportation, AI can make sure there is better and faster maintenance of the transport infrastructure, for example, by constantly monitoring wear and tear and predict failures and optimise maintenance schedules to minimize inconvenience and costs. There are so many things in which AI can help governments provide a better quality of service for their citizens.
Another aspect of AI, is that the overall costs will be reduced. This allows a light touch approach to government spending and making better use of spare money. Additionally, some of the decisions that may need to be made, especially if they are straightforward decisions, may be mostly made by AI directly, thus cutting down the amount of time that governments will take decisions drastically.
Obviously in the spirit of keeping with the philosophy that AI should not replace but rather assist people, whenever there is a decision that impacts peoples lives, there will always be human oversight. In situations where the AI cannot make such decisions autonomously, it may help present detailed and well supported explanations of the options available, cutting down on the amount of time needed by people to take such decisions and allowing to make higher quality decisions that are additionally well documented and transparent as a result.
There is a lot of exciting research in this area, for example, about AI that can explain itself, which will lead to trustworthy AI. AI that can make impactful decisions, and thus deliver faster services, make better allocation of budgets that are available, and yet be able to have human oversight and control, to be able to explain why it took a decision and in cases where the AI thinks that it is not capable of taking a decision for itself, or that the impact is too high — ask for a human to collaborate with it, in a spirit of collaboration. This is how I see the governments of the future working, hand in hand with an AI service that is helping the civil service, that is lead by humans and overseen by humans, to make sure that there is a better harmonious relationship.
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