THINK AI for Public Sector 2017
A new and vital addition to the THINK portfolio.
WHY AI FOR PUBLIC SECTOR?
- AI offers the potential to automate layers upon layers of manual processes within the Civil Service, which could not only make government more efficient, but also support the efficiency agenda.
- How citizens interact with government services could be transformed through the use of AI technologies.
- The technology is new and there are a multitude of concerns. What does increased automation mean for the future of the workforce?
- According to Deloitte and University of Oxford, AI and robotics could take £17bn off the public sector wage bill as more than 850,000 jobs could be lost by 2030.
- As a core agenda item on the Prime Minister’s Industrial Strategy, a deeper exploration of the issues surrounding this vital topic could not be more timely.
- This conference should be attended by IT and policy decision makers throughout the public sector who want to understand more about the challenges and opportunities AI will bring, both in terms of technical deployment and political/societal governance.
Registration & Networking
Chair’s Opening Remarks
- Stuart Lauchlan, Editor & Co-founder, diginomica.com
Keynote Address - AI and the impact on the public sector
Top level overview of the potential of AI in the public sector, within the context of the Prime Minister’s Industrial Strategy and the recently announced Digital Strategy from DCMS. The Industrial Strategy notes “there are new or growing industries like artificial intelligence…where the UK has a real competitive advantage”. What can the government to support industry’s efforts to harness AI software? What are the benefits for the Civil Service? Manual processes still weigh down Whitehall and sustain a significant amount of cost. AI has the promise of not only automating these processes, but advising civil servants what tasks are of the highest priority.
Equally, departments are struggling to deal with requests from the general public for services – you only have to look at HMRC’s call centre woes. Chat bots are increasingly able to provide human-like advice and feed information directly into processes, which can be later dealt with by a human when necessary. This improves the experience for the user and the government.
But what does that mean for the future shape of the Civil Service? Are job losses inevitable? And how can government introduce AI safely, without concern from the general public? Are there risks?
Government, AI and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The World Economic Forum writes: “The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.”
Essentially, the lines between people and technology are becoming blurred. The challenge is, how can we take advantage of the efficiencies that the fourth industrial revolution will bring, without further increasing inequality? Not only this, government’s role will be impacted by the increased competition that the revolution brings. How can government stay competitive? It’s survival depends on it. What can government do to make sure that its policy still has an impact?
- Alan Mak MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Enfield and the Amelia Chatbot
Conversation has been tipped to be the next evolution in digital user interfaces. Services that would typically be delivered by speaking to someone in person, or through the use of an application, will now be delivered by helpful AI-driven chatbots. Although still in the early phases of development, Enfield Council recognises how conversation could help deliver citizen services at a local level in a more intuitive way. Equally, by blending chatbots with its physical support function, the Council believes that significant savings can be made.
- Rocco Labellarte, Assistant Director of IT, Enfield Council
Digital Dialogue Part One
MORNING REFRESHMENTS & NETWORKING
Sir Humphrey and the robots
Reform predicts that almost 250,000 public sector workers could lose their jobs to robots over the next 15 years. Governments around the world have recognised the potential of AI, but in practice actual application varies widely. How does the government move from piecemeal application of AI to wholesale? And what is the framework for the ethical application of AI for citizen services?
- Eleonora Harwich, Researcher, Reform Think Tank
Aylesbury Vale - 100% cloud and making use of Amazon's Alexa
Aylesbury Vale District Council has a comprehensive digital strategy that has helped the organisation save millions of pounds over the past five years. As well as operating almost entirely in the cloud, the Council also delivers online services that now generate income – which has proven to be necessary in an environment of consistent central government budget cuts. Aylesbury Vale is now also looking at how it can make use of the Amazon Echo AI interface to deliver citizen services, to both provide a better customer experience, but to also help cut down on costs.
- Andrew Grant, Chief Executive, Aylesbury Vale District Council
Digital Dialogue Part Two
LUNCH & NETWORKING
Chair’s Afternoon Remarks
- Stuart Lauchlan, Editor & Co-founder, diginomica.com
User Case Study Part 3
Digital Dialogue Part Three
Societal impact of AI - the need for government leadership
The implementation of AI without any thought for the future consequences could be disastrous for the UK. Without ethical frameworks and a plan for how we want AI to work for us – rather than us working for AI – we are heading into dangerous territory.
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to displace huge amounts of workers. So what do we do about that? The idea of a Universal Basic Income has been touted by many as the solution, but faces obvious blockers in terms of government policy. Is it the way forward? What are the risks?
Equally, how can we ensure that privacy and security are still top of the agenda? AI, given its potential to act autonomously, makes the general public feel uneasy and there are many security concerns. Can government policy guide how its developed and used?
- Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI
- Tim Page (Invited), Senior Policy Officer, Trades Union Congress
- Gary Barnett, Head of End User Advisory, GlobalData Technology