Government departments – and the wider public sector – are already making widespread use of automation technologies. HM Revenue and Customs has used robotics to undertake tens of millions of transactions, the Department for Transport has deployed machine learning to help scour the media landscape for stories its policymakers need to know about, and natural language processing assisted the UK’s Brexit negotiation team in sifting through documents.
There are countless further opportunities to transform not only the delivery of services, but also policymaking, operations, and internal functions such as HR and finance.
But automation and artificial intelligence bring with them significant challenges. The use of algorithms remains on an uncertain legal and ethical footing – especially in the context of supporting citizen services. There will also, as always, be technical challenges in delivering the smooth and cost-effective adoption of new technologies, and ensuring interoperability with existing platforms.
And the biggest hurdles of all may be cultural; both citizens and the public sector workforce retain misgivings about the implications of automation technology.
In this webinar discussion, brought to you by PublicTechnology and SAP, an expert panel of government and industry representatives explored:
• Current uses of automation – success stories and challenges faced
• The key areas where technology could assist in future
• The major barriers to adoption, including technical, operational, legal, and cultural issues
• How will automation change the working lives of public servants?
• What does this mean for citizens?
Head of Integration, DWP Digital
Data/Technology Lead at NHS AI Lab, NHSX
Head of Public Sector, SAP UK & Ireland
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