February 7, 2017 -
Think tank organization Reform has released a new study urging the adoption of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and facial recognition to automate all areas of the UK government, according to a report by Silicon.
Titled “Work in progress. Towards a leaner, smarter public-sector workforce”, the study says the approach would help to significantly reduce government costs by eliminating “at least” 248,860 administrative roles by 2030.
The study is released in advance of Reform’s annual conference on Thursday, at which Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer is anticipated to reveal the details of the government’s postponed digital strategy.
The government’s digital strategy was initially expected to be released in December 2015, but has since been delayed on two occasions throughout 2016.
According to the study, online tools such as websites and AI chat bots could automate the roles of 130,000 Whitehall administrative employees (90 percent of current staff) over the next 15 years. This would result in an annual savings of about £2.6 billion (US$3.3 billion).
The study also found that the same technology could be used to replace 90,000 National Health Services (NHS) administrators and 24,000 GP receptionists, saving the UK government £1.7 billion (US$2.1 billion) annually.
Reform said that it is critical for the government to follow current trends in the public sector in order to make public spending cuts.
AI technologies could help improve healthcare decision-making and the accuracy of diagnosis while more effectively addressing common challenges such as medical errors, which impact 10 percent of hospital patients, the study said.
In addition, the study suggested that police could use drones and facial recognition to reduce policing costs.