Singapore will use chatbots to support digital service delivery, it was announced today.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is partnering with Microsoft to build an intelligent conversational platform that “will function as digital representatives” and “simulate human behaviour” to simplify interactions and streamline processes, the IDA wrote.

Modern interactions with peers are done through emails and texts, added Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Smart Nation Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs at the World Cities Summit. “Why shouldn’t the same capability be available for government?”

Chatbots have the potential to reduce service time, he said. Such intelligent platforms have “access to all the data”, and are able to personalise their responses to you in real time, he added.

“I believe there are more intuitive ways for government services to be delivered to our citizens”, the Minister said.

The intelligent system will be rolled out in three phases. The bots will first draw answers from a database, responding to simple factual questions from users of selected public service; next they will be deployed to guide users to complete simple tasks within government websites; in the last phase, they will respond to personalised queries from users, according to the IDA.

The government will also look into chat “services that cater to a multilingual” population, and adapt it to users of all ages, it added.

Image by Michele M. F., licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0