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Artifical intelligence (IA) is changing the way we interact and how we experience the world. We use it to calculate the best route, to monitor and warn of suspicious banking movements and to filter spam, among many other examples.

Aware of the above, the United Kingdom (UK) Government recognizes the importance of technology development in the public and private sectors—hence the publication of a guide to using artificial intelligence in the public sector on June 10, 2019. This document is the result of the joint work of the Government Digital Service (GDS) and the Office for Artificial Intelligence (OAI).

The guide covers subjects grouped into three main categories:

  • Assess, plan and manage artificial intelligence;
  • Using artificial intelligence ethically and safely; and
  • Examples of artificial intelligence use.

The guide points out that before implementing any AI solution, it is important to understand it and to assess whether it is an optimal and appropriate option. Planned project management will prevent uncertainty and lack of control.

GDS and OAI have partnered with The Alan Turing Institute (ATI) to produce guidance on how to use AI ethically and safely. AI can have a positive impact on individuals and society but can also cause unintentional harm. To minimize this risk, those who design, produce and implement AI should take into account relevant ethical considerations to achieve results according to generally accepted values, principles and techniques.

Finally, the guide collects certain examples or case studies on how the public sector uses AI: (i) using satellite images to estimate populations; (ii) using AI to improve Department for Transport testing; (iii) using machine learning to make gov.uk more accessible; (iv) using AI to help trains run on time; (v) using natural language processing to improve the efficiency of the land registry and market research structuting; (vi) using data from electricity meters to predict energy consumption; and (vii) how the Ministry of Justice used AI to compare prison reports.

The UK Government thus seeks to establish a roadmap for incorporating AI into public services while raising awareness of the importance of uniform and controlled action.

By Clara Sánchez

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clara.sanchez@cuatrecasas.com