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AI in administration on a good course

News from Dec. 15, 2020

On behalf of the Competence Center Public IT (ÖFIT) at Fraunhofer FOKUS, iRights.Lab has published a short study on best practices in the use of artificial intelligence in public administration entitled “AI in public authority use: experiences and recommendations”. Artificial intelligence (AI) appears to be the next stage of digital transformation. However, many pitfalls lurk in the process. How are these avoided in current examples from public administration?

Artificial intelligence is associated with great expectations as well as skepticism and deep-seated fears - especially when used in public administration. In order to create the right framework conditions, numerous strategies and guidelines have been developed worldwide in recent years. What can be learned from this for the use of AI in terms of effectiveness and security requirements as well as with regard to ethical standards?

On the basis of case studies, iRights.Lab has analyzed AI applications from all areas of public service provision at the federal, state, and local levels on behalf of the Competence Center Public IT (ÖFIT) at Fraunhofer FOKUS. The result is a systematic assessment of the AI landscape in German administration, which provides many practical tips on how AI deployment can be designed to meet the special requirements of public administration. These design criteria become clear on the basis of the examples.

To what extent are these requirements already being taken into account in the use of AI in German public administration? The analysis shows that AI deployment in German public administration is extremely reflective and follows guidelines worthy of emulation. The objectives are ensured through various mechanisms. Under these conditions, AI in public administration can unfold its potential while risks and potential negative side effects remain manageable.

AI creates innovations

AI can speed up processes and reduce the workload of employees, but it can also create entirely new applications and offerings. One example is the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure's (BMVI) freeway condition monitoring application. For the first time, this application makes it possible to repair sections in a proactive and demand-driven manner before cost-intensive long-term damage occurs. One example of rapid implementation is the Covid-19 chatbot of the Information Technology Center of the Federal Government (ITZBund), which was developed in a very short time with the involvement of numerous ministries and is intended to serve as a blueprint for a wide variety of authorities and for a wide variety of purposes. The long-term vision is a personalized assistant for government information vis-à-vis citizens, representing a fusion of chatbot and the digital submission of forms according to the OZG.