The possibilities of AI in the Public Sector are limitless. Why? Because when it's not about profit, it is about peoples' lives
Martin Neale, the CEO of ICS.AI has sat down with Sramana Mitra, the founder of One Million by One Million, the world's first and only global virtual incubator, to discuss why the Public Sector is such a valuable market for artificial intelligence. The highlights from this conversation can help us understand how the power of AI can be used for serving the public.
In 2015, LinkedIn named Sramana one of their Top 10 Influencers alongside Bill Gates and Richard Branson. She has been consistently active in the industry, looking for Thought Leaders in technology and business, inspiring new brands to take daring decisions.
To read the entire interview go here.
So, what is AI to begin with?
AI is one of the new shiny products electrifying the world of tech. Being a lot more than a gadget, it redefines engagement, completely transforming the way business is done. Or education. Or healthcare. Or any other public service.
AI is the capability of a computer program to perform tasks or reasoning processes that we usually associate with intelligence in a human being. But it is not intended to replace humans, only to augment their capabilities by taking over routine, repetitive requests that take up too many resources without producing enough value in return.
How is AI already helping in the UK's Public Sector?
The public sector is the largest consumer of conversational AI. Why? The public service providers must communicate at a population level. In times of social media and especially post-Covid, they are under a great pressure to do so digitally.
How could they effectively engage with entire communities online? It requires a massive scale. Artificial intelligence can provide unlimited engagement with human-like quality.
AI channel shift is the use of Conversational AI technology on popular analogue and digital communications channels to provide residents with 24/7 Self-Service leading to a reduction in the overall contact volumes handled by Agents.
It takes on different forms. In universities, conversational AI can help thousands of new students a year select accommodation. In healthcare, it can help people with mental health needs find and self-serve resources. AI also helps big organisations instantly respond to waves of queries, currently letting 350,000 people in the UK verify whether they comply with GDPR regulations.
These numbers are not possible to achieve via only human-to-human contact. This type of engagement is simply not scalable.
How to leverage Microsoft environment
Creating efficient AI can be done within the Microsoft ecosystem. This leads to AI built for organisation’s existing infrastructure, given that most of the Public Sector in the UK and the world uses this vendor's software.
When building AI on top the Microsoft Azure platform, you need to provide extra value, to make sure your product fits within the framework but also instantly solves problems that need solving. That means, AI that comes knowing what people are asking.
How to make sure AI knows things?
Organisations want their AI assistant to know everything they know. They don’t want an empty bot that cannot serve anyone. But training AI is pricey and time-consuming, and most vendors sell empty DIY bots.
For AI to know anything, it needs robust training data. An efficient language model needs hundreds to thousands of intents, depending on the market it’s aimed at. These are basically different things users ask about. Good AI understands any of these various things, asked in different ways and provides answers.
ICS.AI have been able to use its experience, network, and capability to amass exceptional training data. And as the AI assistants work collecting it further, we can model what are the new subjects needed by users and grow our AI’s knowledge even more.
How to provide extra value?
Apart from the core capabilities, AI needs additional features and functions to provide a well-rounded user experience. An example of that is an ethics capability. The ethics subsystem canis going through the platform to understand whether it complies with the chosen ethical values. Thanks to the ethics compliance, the assistant won't answer inappropriate questions.
Solving tomorrow's problems
AI's mission is to solve tomorrow's problems. And these problems are what the Public Sector is dealing with. What is the workforce like when it’s entirely remote? How to handle queries spikes? How to provide digital engagement to entire local population? How to retain staff? How to help organisations understand if they’re being effective? And most importantly, how to help improve peoples' quality of life?
Technology development is a constant evolution. And this presents opportunities. Understanding the full power of AI makes those opportunities very exciting.
To learn more about partnering with Microsoft and the range of our products, read our Thought Leaders in AI interview with Sramana Mitra here.