In an ever-more individualized society, citizens increasingly reach out to state employees to request public services. They expect the same kind of service they get from the private sector – in other words, channel-, location- and time-independent availability. This 24/7 expectation puts public authorities under pressure to manage processes efficiently and leverage resources for complex and important tasks while ensuring data security, privacy, and confidentiality.
In parallel, state employees often lack the tools they need to resolve complex cases in a timely manner. An informational and self-service platform for public servants in the form of chatbots or other virtual assistants could help reduce the work time per transaction, resulting in faster service.
Towards an AI-driven interaction:
Chatbots have been evolving continuously. They are applications on a digital platform where citizens can interact with public servants through text or voice. Now, bots are able to handle more and more complex questions and respond as a human would. Some intelligent AI assistants are very close to passing the Turing Test. Chatbot technology comes with various levels of intelligence. Hence, the right level of the intelligence should be picked depending on the use case and complexity required.
Government interaction services can be classified into three major categories.
- FAQ assistants
- Conversational assistants
- Sentiment-understanding assistants.
Graph 1: Interaction classification model
Bots4human – AI assistants don’t replace public servants, they augment them
The value of AI-driven assistance lies in augmenting humans when necessary. While bots take over the most trivial questions, public servants can concentrate on specialist cases where human cognitive skills are necessary. This leads to both a better handling of tedious routine activities and the quick help delivery for citizens in urgent and critical need. Also, AI assistants can spot, within one conversation, that their capabilities have reached a limit and notify a public servant to jump in.
This transition from a non-human assistant to a human interaction has to be smooth. The human public servant should be able to take over the interaction that the citizen has had with the non-human assistant without the quality of the service delivered suffering.
Graph 2: Use Cases for “Interacting with the Citizen” in the Public Sector
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