AI, machine learning will alter, not replace public sector workforce roles: Accenture
Accenture published a new research report, “Emerging Technologies in Public Service”, which explores the adoption of emerging technologies across agencies tasked with providing citizen-facing services, such as health and social services, policing/justice, revenue, border services, administration and, pensions and social security.
The report focuses on a range of technologies including advanced analytics and predictive modeling, the Internet of Things, intelligent process automation, video analytics, biometrics and identity analytics, machine learning and, natural language processing and generation.
The results are based on a survey of nearly 800 public service technology professionals across nine countries to identify emerging technologies being implemented or piloted.
The report asserts that there is a growing need for attracting technically proficient employees as the existing workforce continues to age, which will result in the decline of institutional knowledge unless proper action is taken.
Emerging technologies will alter existing roles rather than completely replace them, the report said. Automating tasks through artificial intelligence, machine learning or other technologies, enables employees to focus on more essential activities and proactively meet the needs of citizens.
The survey found that 80 percent of respondents believe that implementing emerging technologies will improve job satisfaction as well as help staff retention, partly by automating certain repetitive tasks and ensuring others are more aligned with citizens’ direct needs.
Adoption of emerging technologies can provide new skills and opportunities for existing employees and help retain top talent, with 58 percent of respondents agreeing that these technologies will expand the range of relevant skills in the organization.
The report also found that nearly 60 percent of respondents believe that being able to implement projects using emerging technologies would require significant investment in training existing staff.
The report found that 60 percent of people cite intelligent process automation as the skill most likely to address technological and data skills shortages.
Meanwhile, Finland and Australia both identified biometrics and identity analytics professionals as its greatest need in addressing hiring and people-development challenges.
Norway respondents said that natural language processing and generation specialists are of the highest priority (40 percent), while Singapore respondents found that hiring needs are nearly equal among Internet of Things (21 percent), video analytics (29 percent) and, biometrics and identity analytics (21 percent).
“Responsive and responsible leaders must ensure that their people are relevant and adaptable to keep pace with technology,” said Terry Hemken, who leads Accenture’s health and public service analytics insights for government business. “Creating the future workforce now is the responsibility of the very highest levels of an organization. Providing opportunities to learn new technologies has the dual benefit of attracting a more digitally fluent staff while creating opportunities to retain existing workforce talent.”
Previously reported, Accenture released the results of its Digital Pulse survey which asked whether government should monitor social media for potential threats, increase government and police collaboration, or use facial recognition and video analytic technology to thwart attacks.