Whether for better or for worse, many people agree that generative AI is a game changer that will revolutionize the way we live and work.
Optimists believe that generative AI is an opportunity to improve and expand our technological knowledge. At the same time, catastrophists fear that AI in general can be a risk to humanity, even leading to the danger of extinction.
Potential impact of generative AI on public services
In 2024, generative AI will disrupt the public workforce's way of working. Public administrations need to develop capabilities to manage the exponential transformational possibilities offered by these technologies while ensuring accountability, trust and transparency.
A new study by the International Labour Organization states that generative AI is more likely to increase jobs, rather than destroy them, by automating some tasks. It’s also possible that traditional jobs will be complemented rather than replaced by generative AI, bringing changes in the quality of employment, especially the intensity and autonomy of work.
What are the possible applications of generative AI in the design, building and governance of digital public services? Let's look at some non-exhaustive examples that could emerge in 2024:
- Rapid prototyping: In the context of digital public services, generative AI can significantly contribute to accelerating the process of designing and developing new digital services and improving the user/citizen experience.
- Personalization of services: Thanks to the combination of generative AI and advanced analytics techniques, it will be possible to offer a high level of personalization of services.
- Automating responses to user inquiries: Generative AI can create automated response systems, such as chatbots and virtual assistants. These can provide real-time information and support to users seeking information about public services.
- Simplification of the drafting of administrative documents: This is possible due to generative AI’s ability to generate coherent and well-structured texts. Generative AI can simplify and optimize the document management of public administrations from the point of view of relations with users and in managing administrative procedures.
- Legal design: Involves an interdisciplinary approach that combines law, design and technology to improve the communication and usability of legal information.
- Translation and language accessibility: Generative AI can offer machine translation and interpretation services, allowing governments to provide information and assistance in different languages.
- Education and training: Generative AI can be used to develop customized learning materials and training modules for civil servants and citizens. For example, by generating training resources on specific topics, educators can create interactive learning scenarios or provide personalized feedback to learners.
Where do we go next?
All of the cases mentioned represent only a small part of the processes affected and disrupted by the ongoing digital transformation. So, what do you think will be necessary regarding organizational skills and governance models?
IT directors must ensure reliable, secure, scalable and high-performance AI solutions integrated into the IT systems that enable decisions and drive interactions with users and citizens.
Business directors must ensure that employees are adequately trained and prepared to use the generative AI tools and understand how they work. They’ll also need to understand the choices underlying a given outcome, especially if it determines a decision or interaction with users and citizens, granting accountability and trust.
Government institutions and policymakers will have to ensure adequate policies that facilitate the adoption of new technologies. This will ensure citizens and consumers have adequate control over the reliability and ethical behavior of IT solutions developed by individual public administrations.
The ongoing debate about the impact of AI on society underscores the need for a balanced perspective. From rapid prototyping to automating responses, personalization and simplifying administrative processes.
Emphasizing the need for a strategic response to generative AI
As we navigate this in 2024, it becomes evident that a strategic response is crucial. IT directors must prioritize secure and reliable integration; business leaders should ensure adequate training and understanding among employees; and policymakers need to craft policies that balance technological innovation with ethical considerations.
Embracing these challenges in 2024 will be key to realizing the full potential of generative AI for efficiency and innovation while safeguarding accountability, trust and ethical standards in public services and beyond.