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Eric Kier says artificial intelligence will help shrink the size of the state

Eric Kier says artificial intelligence will help shrink the size of the state

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the public service will help reduce the size of the state, believes Cyber ​​and Digital Security Minister Eric Kjaer.

During the 2018 election campaign, which brought Quebec's Coalition for the Future to power, François Legault made an aggressive commitment to reduce the public service by at least 5,000 positions, mainly through post-retirement attrition.

Six years later, the CAQ government is still unable to deliver on its promise.

“You are right, this has not been achieved,” admitted Minister Cayer, as he assessed on Thursday the use of artificial intelligence in public administration in Quebec, following the Quebec Innovation Council's report on the subject submitted to the government on February 5.

This technology, which allows human intelligence to be imitated through various computer tools, will be tested on the Quebec government's open data website, with the addition of a chatbot.

Chatbot

If the pilot project succeeds, then this “Chat bot” They may also appear on other government websites.

“Yes, eventually, once a conversational agent matures, he or she will have the versatility to fulfill other functions,” Mr. Kjaer emphasized.

“Ultimately, what we hope to improve is the customer experience and customer service,” explained Sarah Gagnon-Turcotte, director of the Center of Expertise in Artificial Intelligence, Analytics and Government Automation.

His team is also developing prototypes that would, for example, reduce the processing time of requests for group insurance for civil servants or even reduce the number of hours spent on lengthy billing processes.

Huge potential

In one entity affiliated with the Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital Affairs, the tested tool must provide the equivalent of 85 working days. The potential for reuse across various ministries and organizations is therefore huge, according to MI Gagnon Turcotte.

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Ultimately, if reducing the number of civil service jobs “may be part of the consequences” of the AI ​​project, “that is not the main goal,” Mr. Kjaer explained.

But “AI integration will certainly disrupt the business picture,” warns the La Belltrie member.

However, he stresses that “there is absolutely no question of cutting off the services provided by the government to the people, by the people.”

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