Artificial Intelligence: The new way to be the leaders in innovation for the Public Sector

Updated: 3 days ago

‘The NHS almost relies on a degree of slave labour to make it work.’

Imagine there was a solution out there to help increase productivity, decrease pressures and give information out faster than ever before.

The AI created by our team is a foundation of world class technology that we have needed to support our public sector organisations, that can transform the way local councils, higher education institutions and NHS trusts engage with their citizens or students alike.

Artificial Intelligence is a technology created by humans for humans and within the tech world is thought to be one of the most important functions emerging.

Within our modern world, most people use this kind of technology in their everyday lives but have little to no idea. So, what is it? And how can it help our world for the better?

In its simplest form, Conversational Artificial Intelligence is technology that bridges the gap between human and computer language allowing natural communication between the two.

Think, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Home, they are all sophisticated AI models. They are the leaders of the AI pack, so to speak, and this is down to the sheer quantity of people who use them and therefore improve them.

Labelled as ‘The next wave of customer and employee experiences’ by Deloitte, Conversational AI allows human-like interaction when humans aren’t available or necessary, be that in the middle of night or when humans can be utilised in better ways.

In our medical world we have seen huge demands and pressures with the coronavirus pandemic, and the strain on the NHS is discussed as a paramount reason for needing the national lockdowns.

Consultant Cardiac and Transplant Surgeon at University Hospital Birmingham and Chief Innovation Officer at ICS.AI, Neil Howell, shared how implanting this conversational AI technology could be the future of saving our NHS: “As a doctor I’ve just taken the time out and reflected and looked at the situation myself and just thought there just has to be a better way than this. You’ve got 6 nurses on a shift and all 6 of them are on a computer or on a phone. That’s not why they went into nursing.”

“The NHS almost relies on a degree of slave labour to make it work.''

''We have lots of very clever and hardworking junior doctors and nurses who just do an awfully large amount of really basic, clerical work that no other sector would ask its staff to do. You would find ways of automating these tasks but no one in the NHS has ever bothered to do so because who cares if they stay till midnight, they’re not being paid, why should we make it better? In our day we had to do it.”

“I think that’s the attitude that is so wrong about the NHS there is so many clerical processes in hospitals in particular that we could automate nowadays, the surfacing of knowledge to patients and staff could be done so much better than intranet searches.”

Martin Neale, CEO of ICS.AI, shared his views on the future of Artificial Intelligence within the workplace and how he believes it can benefit society:

“I think within five years, conversational AI will be the standard way we engage with organisations  and engage within organisations.''

''Part of the reason for that is that coronavirus has accelerated the desire for everybody to engage digitally,  and what that means is that a huge quantity of capabilities that  weren't previously available,  become and have to become available. What that in turn does is increases the complexity because quantity and choice  is generally at the heart of complexity”

As the world moves over to digitalisation and people require access to things from their homes due to the pandemic and the speed in which humans desire queries to be dealt with increases, many are beginning to see the benefits of implementing chatbots and local councils such as Telford and Wrekin and Southampton City council have implemented the software to assist them.

Using conversational AI to reduce the need for humans to do mundane and monotonous tasks and to better assist customers with faster around the clock access to answers. The outcome of implementing this technology is clear proof that it works, with Southampton council able to automate 30,000 queries since go live.

James Marshall, Head of Customer and Communications at Southampton City Council talked about how their AI Assistant can be used internally in a way previously he hadn’t thought about, ‘Agents use it now to help with questions that might be outside their skill area, when they get customers come through and ask for something. I often see it used on the floor because it's a really useful source of information for them to ask questions, so type out verbatim what the customer is asking and see what the what the bot comes back with topics that might fall outside their training area.’

Martin Neil said, ‘There’s a desire to engage digitally and what that means is something that was a process that was manual becomes automated and sits their waiting to be called externally, so what you are in effect doing is navigating and your AI assistant is aware of all these digital capabilities and knows how to speak to them all on your behalf. It just sits there and intermediates between you and them. Having an intermediary sitting between you and the complexity is really what conversational AI does. We are using the term: If you can say it, you can do it. To bring that to light.’

A common theme when discussing the implementation of Artificial Intelligence and chatbot software is the fear that surrounds it. If we allow a technology to take over many processes in our everyday lives will we be left in the lurch in our own world and how will we have any control?

Martin Neil, CEO of ICS AI, explained his views on the fear surrounding AI: “I think there’s a lot of emotion around this and I think if you are trying to strip this away to hard facts, McKinsey & Company is the most respected in the field and they have done a very detailed paper that shows net job creation, not net job reduction and they approach it in the way you would expect and need to, to come to data-based answers to the creation rather than emotional.”

‘If we're looking at emotional reasons, whilst these technologies can automate some of it, they can’t automate all of it and if you’re in a job and some of this technology comes along it will be that 20%, 50% or maybe even 60% percent of what you were doing can become automated but that doesn’t mean they can get rid of you because it can’t do all of the things that people can.’

He referred to Elon Musk and said that Musk found, ‘People are really underestimated.’

When asked what his opinion was on the representation of AI and how that affects peoples fear towards it, he said: “People aren’t aware of how limited AI is. What it can do is interesting but when people get worried about AI what they’re getting worried about is something that doesn’t exist – they’re getting worried about the robots – this technology is at least a generation and a few new discoveries short of being able to do anything like that. By and large none of what you see on the films is a realistic capability now with the technology”

If the technology is there to better our world and save companies time and the unrealistic ‘fears’ are merely that, just a notion that doesn’t exist, then what stops us from putting this into action.

We have a youth of tech wizards and fast-paced online learners who have barely known a life without the internet, but on the flip side you have an entire generation of people that just aren’t up to the speed of our modern world and if technology like this takes over there’s an element of worry that they will be even more unconnected than they may be now.

ICS.AI, are using the familiar text layout to make engaging with their assistants an easy experience, with the capability to take users to other web pages or to forms to fill out the assistant may be easier to navigate than a traditional intranet site.

As well as a familiar text-based layout the idea of AI Channel shift is something the team at ICS.AI are really passionate about. The idea that you have multiple channels for your citizens or patients or students to engage with you via and that ultimately it is hard to move them from the channel they are used to using eg. Phone over to a live chat on your website. If this shift is not made it leaves you needing to increase your contact centre staff to handle the volume of queries coming from a variety of channels. AI Channel shift allows you to break this cycle as if we implement an AI Assistant on all channels to sit and triage the volume of queries and to send them to the appropriate skill to be dealt with, staff are less stretched, and people receive the information they required much faster as the AI is the intermediary between the customer and the support team and only calls upon a human when it is necessary. Allowing public sector organisations to provide 24/7 support from a variety of channels.

AI Channel Shift can allow all your users to engage with your organisation in the way that suits them with no increase in pressure to your team.

In this fast moving, technological world we find ourselves in now more so than ever before, with our only means of communication for an entire year being via a screen, Conversational Artificial Intelligence could make many things we do daily easier, faster and more effective and that alone sounds like an incredible piece of technology to have around.

ICS.AI are industry leaders of Artificial Intelligence within the public sector.

We helped Cheshire West and Chester deal with a 500% spike in queries relating to COVID-19 with no extra strain on their team.

We helped Southampton City Council automate 30,000 inbound queries since their AI Assistant went live.

We helped Telford and Wrekin Council cut their call wait times by 30 minutes.

We can help you next. Reach out to our sales team today to see how you can achieve true AI channel shift with ICS.AI.

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