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Post: Is AI the answer for better government services?

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Is AI the answer for better government services?

Governments are exploring whether AI can give reliable advice Long before ChatGPT came along, governments were keen to use chatbots to automate their services and advice.

Those early chatbots "tended to be simpler, with limited conversational abilities," says Colin van Noordt, a researcher on the use of AI in government, and based in the Netherlands.

But the emergence of generative AI in the last two years, has revived a vision of more efficient public service, where human-like advisors can work all hours, replying to questions over benefits, taxes and other areas where the government interacts with the public.

Generative AI is sophisticated enough to give human-like responses, and if trained on enough quality data, in theory it could deal with all sorts of questions about government services.

But generative AI has become well known for making mistakes or even nonsensical answers – so-called hallucinations.

In the UK, the Government Digital Service (GDS) has carried out tests on a ChatGPT-based chatbot called GOV.UK Chat, which would answer citizens’ questions on a range of issues concerning government services.

In a blog post about their early findings , the agency noted that almost 70% of those involved in the trial found the responses useful.

However, there were problems with "a few" cases of the system generating incorrect information and presenting it as fact.

The blog also raised concern that there might be misplaced confidence in a system that could be wrong some of the time.“Overall, answers did not reach the highest level of accuracy demanded for a site like GOV.UK, where factual accuracy is crucial. We’re rapidly iterating this experiment to address the issues of accuracy and reliability." Portugal is testing an AI-driven chatbot Other countries are also experimenting with systems based on generative AI.Portugal released the Justice Practical Guide in 2023, a chatbot devised to answer basic questions on simple subjects such as marriage and divorce. The chatbot has been developed with funds from the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).The €1.3m ($1.4m; £1.1m) project is based on OpenAI’s GPT 4.0 language model. As well as covering marriage and divorce, it also provides information on setting-up […]

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