Can Governments and Citizens Benefit from Artificial Intelligence?

Date: 03 March 2021
Can artificial intelligence help improve relationships between citizens and government? Will government be able to replace some civil service positions with artificial intelligence in the near future? How will artificial intelligence change healthcare, security, policymaking? While these issues have been debated in the West for a long time, they are now being discussed in the context of Eurasia.

With specific reference to Eurasian countries, these and related issues were discussed at a panel discussion on “Artificial Intelligence in Civil Service” on 3rd March 2021, hosted by the University of Central Asia and co-organized by StrategEast.

Clockwise: Oleh Hrynyk, Petter Svaetichin, Shaukat Ali Khan, Evgeny Koren, and Andrei Shubadziorau.

“Artificial intelligence solutions are not the future, they are already a reality; this is what chat-bots and other programs are all about,” says Evgeny Koren, Country Manager at Microsoft Belarus. “Therefore, when we talk about the use of AI in civil service, the only question is whether the state is interested in implementing such solutions. The state understands that due to AI deployment, many officials may lose their jobs in spheres such as tax services. The question today is not whether AI-based solutions work, but what happens to people and their jobs after the implementation of such solutions.”

“People are becoming the main asset. People are our “new oil”. Not only people, but also their personal data. This is the main thing that the state should understand today,” says Andrei Shubadziorau, GR-director at EPAM Systems Belarus. “EPAM Belarus has 10 thousand employees today. Moreover, we have all the information about each of our employees. We know when one wants to quit, and we are ready to offer him/her a new project to make him/her stay. As a result of our work with the data on our employees, the capitalization of EPAM per employee has grown over the past 4 years from USD 22,000 to USD 38,000.”

“Being a Swede, and living and working in Georgia, I know the Swedish experience of implementing civil services as a comparison,” says Petter Svaetichin, Chief Executive Officer at Neiron, Georgia. “I can see that in Georgia solutions for civil society are not developed at all.  The first thing is to remove the stigma from people regarding artificial intelligence and computer solutions in general. People are afraid of computer solutions and losing their jobs. The solution to this problem is education. With this in mind, we opened Neuron Academy, where we educate people about what artificial intelligence is, and how it works.”

Answering the question from the audience on how AI can improve e-government, Oleh Hrynyk, Data & Analytics Consultant, Head of Data Architecture and Data Practice Coordinator at EPAM Systems, Ukraine, spoke about the fact that AI is able to predict many future trends. In particular, it can predict trends regarding the labor market, and future specialists in demand. For students, this will mean that they can make more informed choices about deciding on their future specialty.

In response to a question on future scenarios regarding implementation of AI in civil service, Mr. Koren said: “We need to start with AI solutions that immediately bring obvious benefits, such as the ability to find fraud in taxes. Moreover, we have such solutions, and it can bring additional revenues to the state budget without increasing taxes. We are already discussing the implementation of these solutions in Belarus and Georgia.”

The full recording is available on UCA's youtube channel: https://youtu.be/pmWAPd8IZ-A
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