Portalb.mk writes that the use of artificial intelligence in the public sector would help to increase the quality of services, to save citizens’ time and money, but also to prevent corruption. However, if AI is used non-transparently, the consequences outweigh the benefits. This is what experts say about the impact of artificial intelligence if it is used by institutions that provide services to citizens.
The provision of services through artificial intelligence would help and enable the citizens not to wait at counters, the worker who is “late for work” or to spare themselves from the chaos of citizens for a single service that can be automatically provided by artificial intelligence.
The members of the Civil Association “Konekt”, whose representative is part of the AI Strategy working group, say that one of the biggest advantages of artificial intelligence is that it can significantly reduce errors, but also increase accuracy and precision.
“It is fully available to us 24/7 and can perform tasks that would be dangerous and risky for humans. Decisions made by artificial intelligence are based on pre-collected information and a specific set of algorithms which unfortunately can be based on bias and/or prejudice. There are examples in the world where the use of artificial intelligence systems by institutions/companies unfortunately has a negative effect, and in some cases discriminatory effect, on specific categories of citizens that are already vulnerable”, says Irina Hadzi Mitova, a program associate at “Konekt”.
However, as Hadzi Mitova says, there may be benefits from AI in the provision of services by institutions, however it is extremely important that before any introduction of AI by the institutions, they should conduct a risk assessment, impact assessment and management of possible risks. Of course, these processes should be carried out in an extensive consultation process with the civil sector and the citizens, in order to see if the use of that specific AI will indeed have a positive or a negative impact.
“They believe that artificial intelligence can be effective in the fight against corruption through the digitalization of public procurement data, tenders, government transactions, etc.,” says Hadzi Mitova.
The university professor Dr. Petre Lameski explains that not all services can be completely replaced by AI. But most of the services and processes would be significantly improved if AI was introduced within them.
“This applies to data-dependent services, as well as tasks that are repetitive and can be automated. The goal of AI should not be to completely eliminate people from the processes, but to facilitate the operation and improve the quality of services.” AI can help in planning, making informed decisions by managers, and it can also help in the automation and optimization of processes that take a long time in state institutions and that consume a lot of resources,” explains Professor Lameski.
The introduction of AI represents the next and, according to the professor, inevitable step in the process of digitalization of state processes and services.
“Digitalization itself implies reduction of the influence of the human factor, thereby disabling corruption. Or in short, yes, AI will disable corruption wherever it is a deciding factor. However, if its use is not transparent, the consequences can be worse,” adds Lameski.
Dr. Mentar Mahmudi, who works as a senior scientist in applied sciences at Amazon, indicated for Portalb.mk that the use of artificial intelligence can help institutions in many different ways, to provide better and more efficient services.
- Improvement of public services: The use of AI can help public institutions improve public services, enabling them to provide faster and more appropriate services to the citizens and the businesses.
- Improvement of healthcare: AI can help improve healthcare by helping to diagnose diseases, determine treatments, and improve post-treatment care.
- Public safety protection: AI can help protect public safety by helping to identify risk and prevent crimes.
- Improvement of education and training: AI can help improve education and training by helping to provide more effective teaching and by identifying individual needs for special trainings.
- Improvement of financial services: AI can help improve financial services by helping to identify potential risks, reduce losses and provide personalized investment advice.
- Traffic: AI can help eliminate all highway tolls by using automatic detection and payment, which will result in saving time, fuel, brakes, reduced corruption, etc. A further step would be the automatic detection of violations of traffic rules (read: illegal parking).
- Improvement of health services: Starting from automatic diagnosis to the collection and processing of patient data for provision of services and early detection of diseases, AI has tremendous potential in the health sector.
In his opinion, artificial intelligence can in some way help to prevent corruption, but it cannot completely prevent this phenomenon.
“It is important to note that AI cannot prevent corruption if there is no overall integrated approach to its prevention. If there is corruption in the AI programming process, the algorithms may be vulnerable to corruption. Moreover, if the AI is used in a corrupt environment, then there may be a risk that the use of AI will allow or cover up corruption. Thus, artificial intelligence can help prevent corruption in various ways, but it cannot completely eliminate this phenomenon,” says Dr. Mahmudi.
The presentation of the Chat GPT robot, which has the ability to speak like a human with a high degree of fluency and coherence, drew the world’s attention to the use of artificial intelligence in the service of man, but also to the possible threats it could pose.
Portalb.mk, previously wrote that the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the absence of strategy or regulation exposes the citizens to the risk of potential abuse. The Republic of North Macedonia established a working group for the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, however only one meeting has been held since 2021.
This research story was prepared as part of the project “Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Agenda – ICEDA”, co-financed by the European Union and implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation (North Macedonia), the e-Governance Academy (Estonia), the Dosta! Campaign (Albania), Partners for Democratic Change Serbia (Serbia), NGO 35mm (Montenegro), and Open Data Kosovo (Kosovo).
This research story was prepared with the financial support of the European Union. The content of the research story is the sole responsibility of the Metamorphosis Foundation and the author and in no way reflects the views of the European Union.