How should AI be used by administrative bodies so that employees and citizens profit? The “Network AI in labour and social administration” initiated by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) is dedicated to this question.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to improve the service provided to citizens, relieve workers performing repetitive tasks, reduce processing times and thus make public administration more efficient.
At the same time, particularly if AI is used in labour and social administration, all stakeholders involved in its introduction must look very carefully where and how AI is applied. That is because decisions made in this sensitive area can have significant impacts on the lives of citizens, for instance, in relation to the granting of social benefits. Statutory requirements must be observed in this context. For example, discretionary powers for decisions can be vested exclusively in humans.
AI already in selective use
AI is already used in selected areas by the Federal Employment Agency (BA), for pension and accident insurance - and with great success. For example, the Berufsgenossenschaft Energie Textil Elektro Medienerzeugnisse (BG ETEM), introduced an AI-based system in its legal recourse department, for which it received an award in September 2020 as part of the 19th German eGovernment Competition. The Federal Employment Agency has deployed AI-based image analysis in its family welfare department for automatically recognising certificates of study. Over the next few years, we can also expect to see AI used increasingly in other areas of labour and social administration.
To ensure that administrative staff and citizens also trust the AI systems used, these systems must meet the highest quality standards, be developed along human-centric lines and their decisions must be free of discrimination and comprehensible.
The AI-O coordinates the “Network AI in labour and social administration“
To discuss how best to guarantee these high standards, the AI Observatory is bundling the expertise of the relevant departments at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and of officials from the relevant business areas such as the Federal Employment Agency, the German Pension Board and statutory accident insurers in a network entitled “artificial intelligence in labour and social administration”.
Here, representatives from the ministry and the business area will hold detailed discussions regarding the scope for design in terms of dealing with AI in labour and social administration. The goal is to exchange experience at expert level and to develop policies for the use of AI in labour and social administration settings. This exchange of information will take place in AI Labs, which are due to be held – remotely to begin with – at regular intervals of four to six weeks up to autumn 2021.