UK Government Advocates for AI to Streamline Civil Service Jobs

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.29 - 2024 3:14 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
The UK government plans to use AI for tasks like drafting parliamentary inquiries responses, aiming to streamline civil service operations and reduce headcount, with Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden leading the initiative.

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The UK government is championing the adoption of AI technology to undertake tasks traditionally performed by civil servants, including drafting responses to parliamentary inquiries, as part of an initiative to reduce civil service jobs, according to the Financial Times.

Introducing the "Red Box" AI Tool

UK Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden is poised to introduce a new "red box" AI tool designed to digest and summarize information from credible sources, such as parliamentary records.

Another similar tool is being tested to generate individual responses to public consultations. Dowden claims this AI can replace the work of 25 civil servants, which currently takes three months, with the assurance that human oversight will review and source-check all AI-generated drafts.

A Strategic Move Towards Efficiency

The utilization of AI is seen by Dowden as essential for achieving a sustainable reduction in civil service jobs, particularly after expansions due to the pandemic and Brexit preparations.

This strategy is supported by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who views technology as a means to enhance government efficiency, although there are no plans to replace their own positions with AI.

While advocating for AI's benefits, Dowden emphasizes that AI will not be deployed for "novel or contentious or highly politically sensitive areas."

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office's AI division is expected to more than double in size and receive a significant budget increase to £110 million, up from £5 million, signifying the government's commitment to integrating AI into its operations.

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