The Power of Emerging Tech for Digital Government Services [Examples]

Published on November 30, 2023

With remarkable advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), the potential it holds for governments is truly exhilarating.

The evolving landscape of technology presents numerous opportunities, but its true impact will be determined by the visionary leaders who wield its capabilities.

As agency leaders take centre stage, they will play a vital role in harnessing AI’s potential to enhance both the employee experience and the services provided to constituents.

The future appears promising, with predictions stating that by 2024, 75% of governments will be launching at least three enterprise-wide AI efforts.

In this article, we explore the boundless possibilities of AI for the public sector, shaping a path towards transformation and innovation in digital government services.

Police departments use ML to flag problem officers – US

In some US police departments, siloed information can hinder the identification of officers likely to violate rules and receive complaints.

To address this issue, a police department in Chicago collaborated with a local university’s crime lab to introduce the Officer Support System in September 2020.

This system utilizes machine learning technology to analyze diverse data points, such as officers’ arrest histories, citizen complaints, firearm discharges, training records, and exposure to high-stress incidents.

The primary objective is to identify officers at a high risk of improper behaviour and provide them with timely intervention, resources, and support.

Machine learning identifies online tax evaders – Colombia

In Colombia, the treasury department of Medellín collaborated with a public-private innovation venture to detect online tax evaders…on social media.

They employed machine learning to scrape social media profiles, searching for hashtags, phrases, and names related to online transactions.

By cross-referencing this data with local telephone information, they identified unregistered businesses operating on social media platforms.

Although not all online merchants complied immediately by registering as tax-paying businesses, this initiative raised awareness and encouraged businesses to move in the right direction.

AI matches job openings with young workers – Serbia

In Serbia, a federal agency has taken action to enhance youth employment opportunities by introducing a program that subsidizes salaries for nine months.

Aimed at individuals up to the age of 30, this initiative employs an AI-driven recommendation system to connect job openings with suitable candidates.

By adopting a digital-first approach, the system streamlines the process, automating applications, approvals, and matching procedures, effectively eliminating administrative obstacles.

AI-aided speech recognition for emergency services – Singapore

In Singapore, accurate voice recognition has become increasingly crucial for service providers, especially when handling emergency calls. Virtual assistants need to overcome language complexities, as many citizens commonly use a blend of English, Mandarin, and Malay.

To address this challenge, the government’s AI office took the initiative to develop a speech recognition program, tapping into local AI expertise and innovation.

By significantly reducing the time taken by dispatchers to record information accurately, the system allows for better resource planning in the long term.

The data gathered from emergency responses has even prompted the agency to strategically station ambulances at local community centres during peak hours, optimizing their effectiveness in reaching those in need promptly.

A public agency’s chatbot answers citizens’ queries on many platforms – Dubai

Many chatbots have difficulty handling questions and customers that fall outside their limited set of commonly asked questions.

However, an electricity and water utility in Dubai is using AI to serve a diverse group of people.

This includes job seekers, contractors looking for status updates, suppliers, and customers with payment inquiries.

The utility’s chatbot is available 24/7 on various platforms, including its own app, as well as external apps and social media platforms. It can interact in both English and Arabic languages.

Final thoughts…

From government agencies using AI to transform digital services to police departments identifying potential issues with problem officers and even chatbots becoming superstars in customer service… the future is full of exciting possibilities.

However…the stakes here are high.

The lack of clear direction in steering AI can have significant consequences.

Without appropriate regulations, there may be concerns related to data privacy, ethical considerations, bias in AI systems, and potential misuse of advanced technologies.

As a result, striking a balance between fostering innovation and safeguarding against potential harms becomes crucial.



About the Author

Mohammad J Sear is focused on bringing purpose to digital in government.

He has obtained his leadership training from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, USA and holds an MBA from the University of Leicester, UK.

After a successful 12+ years career in the UK government during the premiership of three Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, Mohammad moved to the private sector and has now for 20+ years been advising government organizations in the UK, Middle East, Australasia and South Asia on strategic challenges and digital transformation.

He is currently working for Ernst & Young (EY) and leading the Digital Government practice efforts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and is also a Digital Government and Innovation lecturer at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, France.

As a thought-leader some of the articles he has authored include: “Digital is great but exclusion isn’t – make data work for driving better digital inclusion” published in Harvard Business Review, “Holistic Digital Government” published in the MIT Technology Review, “Want To Make Citizens Happy – Put Experience First” published in Forbes Middle East.

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