Eleonora Harwich, Researcher at Reform, was interviewed for Diginomica about the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for UK public services. AI offers great opportunities for public services, including personalised and proactive services, and assisting public servants to detect and identify social issues and create smart interventions. However, she argues that this can't just be rolled out enmasse across the system. This partly because the quality of available data is not unbiased and complete enough, and because there needs to be much more communication and engagement with the public about what it means, how it would be used and the possible positives and negatives.
"We just have not had a sufficient level of debate with the public on the issues of access, transparency and privacy that using data like this warrants. There’s also difficult ethical questions surrounding the use of algorithms in decision-making. Before we get the machines to make an ever-increasing number of decisions for us, we need to do a lot of thinking ourselves."
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