The Government of Estonia announced its latest initiative to improve accessibility to digital services by using speech-to-power AI-driven virtual assistants. The campaign’s “” aim is to improve the sophistication of its AI-driven virtual assistant Bürokratt to support citizens in communicating with public agencies and using its services.
The “Donate speech” project invites all Estonian-speaking people to donate their speech, thereby contributing to the preservation of the Estonian language and the faster delivery of speech technology solutions to our everyday lives. People who speak Estonian as their mother tongue, Estonian as a foreign language and people who speak different Estonian dialects are invited to donate their speech. Speech can be donated via a computer, smartphone or tablet. The “Donate Speech” campaign hopes to collect 4000 hours of speech by February 2023.
The latest campaign forms part of Estonia’s wider 2030 State Agenda to further reduce bureaucracy across the region and increase accessibility for all. The voice recordings collected through the “Donate speech” campaign will be used to improve real-time subtitle generation and translation across both public and private platforms to support non-Estonian speakers and those who are hard of hearing, as well as improve voice-activation capabilities for digital government services. Plans for the next two years prioritise a continued commitment to inclusivity, with the development of technology which can generate real-time sign language interpretation high on the agenda.
Estonia is renowned for its digital-first approach to government services and in light of its 2030 Digital State Agenda is pushing forward to create greater synergies between the public and private sectors on secure data sharing to reduce administrative burdens. The government is working to develop the sophistication of Estonia’s privacy-enhancing technologies to level up the communication channels between the public and private sector to unlock greater access that keeps citizens’ identities hidden. Estonians already own their personal data and retain the right to redact information that has been previously shared, as well as have full transparency of who has viewed their records. If they have a query, the government will inquire into that request and provide further information.
“The next step for the government is to really work with the fruitful pool of data that the private sector has access to, and for it to also return the favour. We see a future where privacy enhancing technologies enable us to share data seamlessly between various organisations to make people’s lives easier,” said Ott Velsberg, the Estonian Government’s Chief Data Officer. “The intersection of services has in the past created unnecessary headaches – for example getting into a car accident requires a response from the police on the public side and insurers on the private side. With greater privacy-enhanced data sharing, the need to contact both institutions disappears, meaning citizens can handle life’s mishaps in much less time and get back to the important stuff”.
To find out more about “Donate Speech” please visit: annetakonet.ee