Information and communications technology (ICT) is a rapidly growing and developing area of the fourth industrial revolution – digital transformation era. It plays a special role in the formation of the global agenda, global economic developments, societal development, public administration and governenance. For the modern person, regardless of their occupation, interests or work style, adaptation to the digital world and the acquisition and improvement of the corresponding skillset is vitally important.
Is it necessary to use these technologies in the process of public governance? The answer to this question is unambigiously clear – modern challenges require modern solutions that utilize any available tools. The public sector of any developed country in the process of dgital transformation should be actively researching and learning new technologies and modern innovative solutions, and through the use of these technological innovations it should be trying to increase the effectiveness, accountability, and openness of the public sector and provide user-oriented, trustworthy and reliable services to the information society.
“Digital” is not merely a term denoting a specific technology; rather, it defines the capabilities of ICT in terms of the technological transformation of socio-economic processes and various other spheres. “Digital transformation” implies new solutions to problems, the creation of unique experiences and the improvement of business processes.
Technological solutions that have the capacity to change our lives already exist today! Which technologies? Across the world, 8 technological developments have been recognized, the first of which being artificial intelligence (henceforth – “AI”).
In the modern world, the interest towards artificial intelligence is growing rapidly. International news media pay a staggering amount of attention to artificial intelligence, while leading politicians and scientists bring up AI and its role in the future of humanity with increasing frequency in their debates. The topic of artificial intelligence also dominated the studies and political and judicial agreements of various international players on the topics of the future of the public sector and its digital transformation. In the last five years, scientists, researchers, activitists and public policy makers are becoming increasingly interested in the potential of AI technology.
The following study aims to provide the readers with information about the main aspects of artificial intelligence, not only in its capacity as a technological solution to various problems, but also as a completely new methodology for the development of business and public administration processes, and a modern instrument of decision-making, governance, and supervision.
The study was developed within the framework of the project - “Promoting Transparency and Ethical Standards in the Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)”, implemented by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) with the support of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL). This initiative aims to promote more transparency in the use of artificial intelligence, development of ethical standards, and its better implementation by public institutions.
The following challenges with regard to the use of artificial intelligence can be distinguished:
- Adherence to the principles of human rights and freedoms, the rule of law, justice and democratic, good governance;
- Reliability, accountability, security, transparency, and accountability of artificial intelligence-based algorithms;
- The public sector "partially" uses artificial intelligence purposefully and still uses human resources in the decision-making process and/or defers to the will of the management, the problem of delegation;
- Certain imbalance between the potential capabilities of artificial intelligence and the outcomes of existing examples;
- Less transformative, more productivity-oriented, faster, more efficient service delivery examples, and less concern for openness and transparency.
As a response to these challenges, the following recommendations were elaborated:
- Defining the role of the public sector as a facilitator and initiator of the introduction of artificial intelligence;
- Research and analysis of the frameworks promoting artificial intelligence;
- Georgia needs to develop a legal framework, national concept, strategy and action plan regulating artificial intelligence;
- At the national level, establishment of thematic working groups with the involvement of stakeholders, academic research centers, business organizations, public agencies, and donor partners;
- Identification of potential services/areas in the public sector;
- Maximum limitation of bias and discriminatory approaches by algorithms;
- Use of artificial intelligence against fraud, corruption and other common "harmful practices";
- Introduction of a high standard of privacy and personal data protection during the implementation of artificial intelligence systems;
- Formation of the most equitable environment for the use of artificial intelligence with the aim of preventing economic inequality and social discrimination;
- In order for a society to choose public governance based on artificial intelligence and to be able to make critical and argumentative judgments about its pros and cons, it must be given the opportunity to acquire knowledge about this technology.
Digital transformation is not an optional choice, but an inevitable way for modern developed countries to move forward and succeed.
Modern technologies, including artificial intelligence, cannot have a positive impact and become a prerequisite for public welfare unless the state guarantees the reforms for digital transformation in adherence to high ethical principles, by balancing conflicting interests, with the involvement of all stakeholders, while taking into account best practices and international regulatory standards, and implementing transparent procedures and governance systems.
Artificially supported services can bring a lot of benefits to humanity. The widespread use of this technology in both the public and private sectors of Georgia will lead to a positive indicator in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, resource conservation, and success. Technological readiness alone will not suffice to this end. It is also critical to establish supportive frameworks and gain public trust, which can only be achieved through open, transparent, and accountable processes.
The Georgian public sector should actively take action to stimulate the use of modern technologies, including artificial intelligence, both in public institutions and on a large scale – across the entire country. Georgia must utilize all of the advantages that accompany the introduction of artificial intelligence in a timely and effective manner, so as not to lag far behind the economic-social transformation inspired by artificial intelligence and not miss out on the benefits provided by this process.
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