05 APR 2018

New challenges for Public Administration to use Artificial Intelligence

On 21 March, the Italian “Task Force sull’Intelligenza Artificiale” (“Task Force on Artificial Intelligence) published the “Libro Bianco sull’Intelligenza Artificiale al servizio del cittadino” (“White Paper on Artificial Intelligence serving the citizen”). The Task Force is responsible for studying and evaluating the impact of IA solutions to improve the relationship between citizens and public institutions.

The White Paper on Artificial Intelligence serving the citizen

This paper, which can be downloaded for free in Italian, focuses on the challenges that must be faced in order to profitably integrate AI within a Public Administration (PA). Nine challenges are identified as crucial:

  • Ethical
  • Technological
  • Professional
  • Quantitative
  • Legal
  • Transformative
  • Democratic
  • Measurable
  • Human

The first challenge is ethical: when someone delegates the ability to make decisions to a machine, there are many ethical problems that arise: transparency, neutrality, respect for privacy are just some of the important issues.

The second challenge is technological: to be effective in public administration, AI must be customizable and adaptable, in order to meet the needs of the citizen as a person and as a part of civil society, respecting and protecting the citizen’s privacy.

The third challenge is that of skills: thanks to IA, new professions will arise, and many current professions will experience change. With the arrival of AI in PA, people will interact and, above all, design new increasingly complex systems.

The role of data represents the fourth challenge and is a crucial issue. Currently, The Internet of Things generates quantities of data that in the past were unthinkable: developing IA systems able to analyze data and transform it into knowledge is fundamental. Furthermore, there are now thousands of Linked Open Data datasets available, so the question is: Will it be possible to exploit them, and if so, how?

The legal context is the fifth challenge, since there are numerous legal aspects to be taken into consideration with the arrival of AI in the PA such as: the principle of transparency of administrative acts, legal responsibility, privacy, IT security and intellectual property.

The sixth challenge is that of following through with the transformation: it is necessary to create, within the PA, an internal culture able to support the process of change.

The seventh challenge is linked to the prevention of inequalities: the inclusion of AI solutions could lead to a reduction of inequalities in various areas such as: education and training; knowledge and guarantee of individual rights; healthcare and disability, and support during difficult situations.

The eighth challenge is to be able to measure the impact of AI in a PA: it will be necessary to define a new set of indicators to monitor constantly.

Last of the challenges identified in the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence –  Libro Bianco della Task Force IA – by AgID  (The government agency for a digital Italy) concerns human beings. It is necessary to define a path that accompanies human beings in these new scenarios in which AI will play an increasingly important role. Science fiction has always offered dystopian visions the near future that have profoundly marked the collective imagination, starting from Hal 9000, the IA of “2001: A Space Odyssey” which kills some astronauts to prevent them from deactivating it.

We need approaches that are not limited to defining Artificial Intelligence and the consequences of its application, but that are multidisciplinary, with actions that have an impact on the psychological, social and existential spheres, to facilitate the involvement of human beings in AI solutions.

Consulthink has developed IA solutions for years at the service of Public Administration and for private companies; such as solutions that analyze anomalies, fraud detection and search engines based on semantic technologies.

Elaborated by Lucia D’Adamo, in collaboration with Luigi Laura, supervised by Marco Pirrone