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AI use in public sector is a team sport

carmen raal e-estonia

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AI use has become the focal point in the public sector, compelling service providers worldwide to align with this trend. While significant advancements can be made in digital public services without AI, its strategic implementation brings added value-boosting efficiency, elevating user satisfaction, and fostering transparency. Despite the widespread benefits of AI, organisations often struggle with where to start, grappling with a myriad of options that might even lead public managers to decision fatigue.  

Having successfully implemented over 130 AI projects in the public sector, Estonia has gained valuable insights and a fair share of lessons learned along the way. In this article, I invite you to explore how Estonia actively encourages and navigates AI implementation among public organisations.  

Estonia aims to become an AI-driven personalised state, and one of its ambitions is to build Bürokratt – a network of interoperable chatbots embedded on public authorities’ websites. This virtual assistant lets users access information and public services via chat. Imagine ‘Siri’ but on steroids.  

To bring Bürokratt to reality and implement other AI solutions to life, we collaborate with essential government entities to assist public service providers in their journey toward becoming more data-driven and implementing AI. AI Support Toolbox offers customised support services, leveraging expertise from public and private sectors with different data analysts and AI specialists.  

Small actions yield big results. AI support in Estonia can start with 45-minute seminars or workshops. Small sessions like this increase awareness and produce understanding of what is required.   

If just raising awareness will not suffice, the toolbox will offer more in-depth initiatives. These initiatives are essential as they provide tailored strategies for institutions at different stages of AI adoption. “Brainstorming” aids those exploring AI applicability by offering a comprehensive assessment, while “Deep Dives” supports institutions with project ideas, facilitating in-depth analysis and strategic project planning. 

Importantly, AI entails significant risks and legal uncertainties. Expert-led data panels are in place to thoroughly assess potential risks to mitigate the chance of projects halting due to ethical concerns or inadvertent misuse of sensitive data. Through data panels, organisations can discuss different concerns and exchange ideas to ensure that AI use does not hinder democracy and trust in a digitalised society.  

The Data/AI Sandbox, spanning 3-6 months, caters to institutions executing complex AI projects. It targets risk assessment through collaboration with an expert advisory board and also aids in the practical execution of projects. The strategic benefits lie in guaranteeing ethical and responsible data processing, boosting AI capabilities, and achieving effective project implementation aligned with business objectives. These sandboxes are crucial for thorough validation, testing, and risk mitigation, ensuring the ethical advancement of AI projects and the successful attainment of strategic goals.  

At the core of this article is an important message – the integral role of collaboration and knowledge sharing in ensuring AI’s safe and successful implementation. In an era of technological advancements rapidly transforming our societies, fostering open communication and collaboration becomes paramount. By bringing together diverse perspectives, expertise, and resources, we not only navigate potential challenges but also harness the collective intelligence needed to unlock the full potential of AI while safeguarding our ethical values. This emphasis on collaboration underscores a commitment to a shared responsibility for shaping AI implementation, emphasising that success is not merely an individual but a collective journey toward a technologically advanced, responsible, and inclusive future. 

  

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We host impactful events both in our centre and online for government institutions, companies, and media. You’ll get an overview of e-Estonia’s best practices and build links to leading IT-service providers and state experts to support your digitalisation plans.

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The Briefing Centre is conveniently located just 2 minutes drive from the airport and 10 to 15 minutes drive from the city centre.

You will find us on a ground floor of Valukoja 8, central entrance behind the statue of Mr Ernst Julius Öpik. Photo of the central entrance.

Valukoja 8
11415 Tallinn, Estonia