What are the possibilities of AI in government? Countries have used the tech to tackle climate change, predict when people need medical checkups, and cut energy use – the list goes on.
The possibilities are endless, with AI holding the promise for predictive, personalised services. Yesterday’s Journey to Digital Government roundtable brought together senior officials from Korea, Canada, the United Nations and Singapore to chart the future of AI in government.
Here’s an inside look into four exciting AI developments.
1. Safer AI
South Korea is working on a Digital New Deal to set the stage for post-Covid innovation in government. The New Deal will pave the way for new and safe AI services by setting up a “data dam”. This will process data collected from various sources, including IoT and robots, to develop AI applications across healthcare, manufacturing and law enforcement.
It will also make connectivity a priority. South Korea is moving ahead with constructing a nationwide 5G network and expanding its public wifi system, despite being one of the most digitally connected nations in the world, according to rankings by the International Telecommunication Union.
2. Digital vaccine tools
The United Nations Development Programme is working with several Asian countries, including India, Indonesia and Bangladesh, to develop digital tools for a smoother vaccination campaign.
One example is temperature loggers. Covid-19 vaccines are sensitive to surrounding temperatures, and need to be kept at extreme subzero temperatures to work.
Tech could also help track who’s been given vaccines. This is important for authorities to know before they can think about lifting restrictions.
3. AI speech to text for Singlish
Singapore has developed a Singlish speech to text engine powered by AI. This will be crucial for helping public agencies handle citizen queries and concerns effectively.
Audio data isn’t analysable and has to be converted to text formats for insights. But this is tricky with Singlish, as most current tools don’t understand this uniquely Singaporean language variety. This tool, which is going into deployment now, aims to fill the gap.
The AI-powered engine opens up many possibilities for improving public services. For instance, civil defence units could study accident report calls to plan where to place their ambulances on different days of the week.
4. Open data app
Quebec, Canada has developed an open data platform to share its data with citizens. It has built an app to show key data. AI filters have been helpful to seek out the most impactful datasets.
The app shares basic data such as the demographics of a neighbourhood. Citizens can also look up specific information to help them make more informed decisions.
For instance, they could check if certain restaurants have recently been fined or suspended for not meeting hygiene requirements. They can then avoid places that have questionable cleanliness standards.
AI has no doubt been a great help as governments continue to pivot to digital services. But one thing’s for certain – we’ve only just begun to see its possibilities.