UK government set to trial AI services to replace civil servants

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The UK government is trialing the use of AI systems in Whitehall in order to increase the efficiency and productivity of civil servants.

If successful, the trial could signal a roll out of AI tools to the wider British Civil Service in order to ease workloads and cut down on costs.

UK Deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden is set to provide more details on the type of AI that will be used, but a lack of funding for public services in the country means that ministers are being forced to do more with less - so Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is hoping to employ a number of technical tools to increase the efficiency and productivity of workers in Whitehall.

 Artificially intelligent public services

One of the tools, nicknamed “red box”, will act as a referencing system for government speeches, parliamentary records and information from official sources. Dowden assured attendants at a briefing that the AI systems would be used on “routine” tasks rather than on sensitive political tasks and information.

One use case that is likely to significantly increase the efficiency and productivity of civil servants is an AI tool that will be used in public consultations to provide summaries that would usually take around three months to complete by 25 civil servants.

Dowden made assurances that the error rates associated with AI will be significantly lower than the error rates of those used in commercial industries. The AI department within the UK Government Cabinet Office has had a significant funding boost from £5 million to £110 million, which has been reallocated from other departments within the Cabinet Office.

Speaking on the return on investment that the government could expect, Laura Gilbert, chief analyst and data science director for Downing Street, said that “some of the early tools are more like a 200 times return on the investment,” far higher than the general target of around 3.55 times.

Via FT

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Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict Collins is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro covering privacy and security. Benedict is mainly focused on security issues such as phishing, malware, and cyber criminal activity, but also likes to draw on his knowledge of geopolitics and international relations to understand the motivations and consequences of state-sponsored cyber attacks. Benedict has a MA in Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy, alongside a BA in Politics with Journalism, both from the University of Buckingham.