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Is AI the answer for more better government services?

If ChatGPT and other Large Language Models (LLMs) are not ready to give out important advice, then perhaps we could look at Estonia for an alternative.

When it comes to digitising public services, Estonia has been one of the leaders. Since the early 1990s it has been building digital services, and in 2002 introduced a digital ID card that allows citizens to access state services.

So it’s not surprising that Estonia is at the forefront of introducing chatbots.

The nation is currently developing a suite of chatbots for state services under the name of Bürokratt.

However, Estonia’s chatbots are not based on Large Language Models (LLM) like ChatGPT or Google’s Gemini.

Instead they use Natural Language Processing (NLP), a technology which preceded the latest wave of AI.

Estonia’s NLP algorithms break down a request into small segments, identify key words, and from that infers what user wants.

At Bürokratt, departments use their data to train chatbots and check their answers.

“If Bürokratt does not know the answer, the chat will be handed over to customer support agent, who will take over the chat and will answer manually,” says Kai Kallas, head of the Personal Services Department at Estonia’s Information System Authority.

It is a system of more limited potential than one based on ChatGPT, as NLP models are limited in their ability to imitate human speech and to detect hints of nuance in language.

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