The case for AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving field that has the potential to improve and streamline various government services and processes, argues Wired, one of the world-leading technology magazines, in its recent article. AI can be used in various ways in government, including virtual assistants that help citizens navigate services offered by the state or education. Some have already stepped on that path.
For example, in Finland, AuroraAI was announced in 2018 to provide personalized, autonomous service to Finns. It will help them interact with government departments and offers proactive medical service.
Another one is the UK-based company CENTURY Tech. It helps governments deliver personalized learning through an AI system that acts as a personal tutor, complementing in-person teaching, tracking progress, and analyzing areas for improvement.
Bürokratt as a success model
Estonia, however, is one step ahead, as it works on a new AI-based virtual assistant called Bürokratt. Taking inspiration from Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, Bürokratt will provide Estonians with a voice-based way to navigate key services provided by the state, such as renewing a passport or applying for benefits, writes Wired.
According to Ott Velsberg, Chief Data Officer of Estonia’s Digital Government, Bürokratt is “an example of a sustainable artificial intelligence solution that is scalable and ensures privacy when processing human data.”
Bürokratt is currently being tested in the Consumer Protection and Technical Surveillance Authority’s service environment and is planned to be implemented in other institutions, including the Police and Border Guard Board and the National Library.
Velsberg says the goal is to “train Bürokratt and develop its basic functionality to the point that most public services and voice-based communication are available through it.” In addition, Bürokratt aims to provide cross-border services and seeks partners in the European Union to implement the software.
Designed to be used across various consumer-focused channels, such as Facebook Messenger, the AI assistant offers a glimpse of the future of e-government. And the timing is just right — for governments to fully deliver on the promise of AI, they will need to invest, writes Wired.
The case of Bürokratt and the implementation of AI in governmental services does not come from anywhere; it’s built on a strong foundation of AI-powered startups and research initiatives. Estonia is home to more than 300+ startups in that niche, from AI-powered negotiations by Pactum to intelligent cross-border compliance by Eurora.
As Wired writes, in 2023, bold governments will be making even more efforts to build nationwide digital architectures, — and Estonia will be an example to follow for the rest of the world.