New research from Accenture shows that people are getting more comfortable with artificial intelligence-powered government services. Accenture surveyed more than 6,000 citizens of Australia, France, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States found that nearly half of citizens are more comfortable using AI today than they were one year ago.
According to the survey results, most people believe that their government is as capable of providing AI-powered services as the private sector is. 56 percent of respondents also said that they hope artificial intelligence will enable government to provide a more efficient and improved level of service.
Citizens who work in the public sector are substantially more positive than the general public toward government use of AI, with two-thirds (67 percent) of public-sector respondents supporting government use of AI, compared with only about half (52 percent) of other respondents. Similarly, public-sector respondents were more likely than other respondents — 63 percent versus 41 percent — to say that they are more comfortable with AI today than they were 12 months ago.
The positivity around artificial intelligence will likely help government with change management as offices and agencies at all levels work through modernization initiatives. Numerous independent analysts have cited the growing potential for AI in the public sector, but there are a few challenges to adoption. Adelaide O’Brien, a research director with IDC Government Insights, said, “IDC Government Insights predicts that by 2020, as AI is more widely adopted in back-office systems and citizen self-services, there needs to be a shift in job roles to address more complex, idiosyncratic tasks and interactions.” Survey data shows that while citizens are broadly positive on AI, they do have concerns about data protection and ethical use.
As government systems continue to improve, the key will be for public sector agencies and officers to identify new hires that have the technical skills but can also contribute when it comes to creating policies around ethical use of data and responsible data management strategies.