How will Digital Assistants revolutionize Public Administration?*
Public Administration (PA) is a fundamental pillar of any society, crucial in delivering essential services to citizens. As the world moves increasingly towards a digital direction, PA must adapt to remain efficient, transparent, and agile. One of the most promising transformations in this context is using digital assistants, which support employees in their roles, enhancing work efficiency.
PA has evolved significantly over the past few decades, incorporating technologies capable of improving citizen service delivery and eliminating paper-based processes that often result in bureaucracy and delays. The introduction of management support systems, process automation, and document digitization have helped to eliminate some of this bureaucracy.
The emergence of electronic governments (e-government) has brought a new dimension to PA, allowing citizens easy and convenient access to online services. However, with the growth in the number of services available 24/7, public servants now face new and significant challenges in keeping pace with this transformation.
In this scenario, digital assistants emerge as a truly disruptive solution. These systems, powered by machine learning, deep learning, and generative artificial intelligence algorithms, enable processing large volumes of information, performing repetitive tasks, and handling requests quickly, efficiently, and accurately.
We are witnessing a total paradigm shift in human-machine interaction through the use of natural language in interactions with information systems.
These digital assistants will help to alleviate the workload of public servants. Routine tasks, such as organizing documents, screening requests, responding to frequently asked questions, and even generating reports, can be automated, but this time, interacting with systems as if they were human, through voice or in written form.
These new natural language interfaces will allow employees to focus on more strategic and decisive activities while improving their quality of life and job satisfaction.
In addition, digital assistants can improve service efficiency. They have the capability to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing citizens with assisted service independent of office hours, contributing to a more accessible and approachable administration.
Despite the evident benefits, integrating digital assistants into the public sector is not without challenges. The issue of data security is a constant concern. Digital assistants handle sensitive and personal citizen information, requiring stringent measures to protect their privacy.
Another challenge is ensuring transparency and accountability (Ethical AI) in the decision-making of these digital assistants. It is crucial that these are explainable (Explainable AI) and that there are mechanisms for citizens to contest or turn to a human whenever necessary.
The integration of digital assistants will transform the ways of working in the public sector forever and in a significant way. The collaborative work of humans and machines will enhance public service excellence like never before.
*This article was originally published in the Jornal Económico.