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UKAuthority Rise of the Bots - Can AI and Bots help transform public services?



20th June, 15 Hatfields, London   Register Here

An opportunity for public sector leaders to learn more about the potential and challenges of using artificial intelligence and robots to transform public service delivery

A new era in public services is dawning. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been on the horizon for years, but a handful of organisations are now taking the first steps to use it day-to-day.

Enfield Council is launching its Amelia virtual service agent; Aylesbury Vale has laid plans to use technologies such as Amazon Echo and Apple Siri in its customer contact; and a group of London clinical commissioning groups are testing a phone app that uses AI in providing advice on urgent care.

Some technology firms are highlighting the potential of chatbots, voice recognition, machine learning and AI in triage, and a growing number of public authorities are taking notice. Everybody knows that, with the intensifying demand and long term squeeze on resources, they will have to push automation further in customer contact and supporting decision-making, and AI will provide the backbone of the change.

Difficult questions

But awkward questions also arise. Former government chief scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport recently highlighted ethical questions about the limits of AI in decision-making; whether people should know when they are interacting with a bot; and how AI’s supposedly objective approach could in fact reflect the biases of its programmers. There is also bound to be an intense debate about where it is appropriate to leave a process to a machine and where a human intervention is necessary.

But public sector leaders cannot wait for all the answers before they begin to lay plans for AI. The time has come when they need to explore the potential and think seriously about how the questions apply to their business.

UKAuthority is opening up the debate with a free for public sector event set to take place in London on 20 June. Rise of the bots – Artificial intelligence in public services will look at early progress and consider where it can and should go. It will focus on a central priority: how to use AI in the public sector for the public good.


The event will include presentations from pioneers in its application in public services, including:

  • Julian Harris, technology innovation consultant, DWP Innovation.
  • Ben Hawes, emerging technologies, Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
  • Benedict Dellot, associate director, economy, enterprise and manufacturing, RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).
  • Andrew Grant, chief executive, Aylesbury Vale District Council.
  • Rocco Labellarte, assistant director of information technology, Enfield Council.

Among the issues to be covered by speakers are:

  • Where are the more immediate uses for AI in public service delivery, and how can you identify the likely benefits?
  • How will this impact the workforce?
  • Should there be ‘no go’ areas for AI in public services?
  • How can organisations assess the public reaction to ‘non-human’ interactions?
  • What are the ethical limits of AI in decision-making?

The event will also include discussions in which delegates can ask questions, make observations and contribute their own perspectives on the potential and challenges. It will all feed into a Briefing Paper to be published by UKAuthority post event.

The immediate prospect is for bots, but AI could do much more in public services over the long term, and public sector leaders need to start thinking today about what they can do tomorrow. This event provides the ideal opportunity to begin the process.

Rise of the bots is free to attend for public sector employees and takes place at 15Hatfields, close to Waterloo Station, on 20 June 2017.
For more information and registration click here.

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