Public Sector Innovation Conference: AI for good and bad

  • 13 March 2024
  • RSA, London

Andrew will be speaking on a panel titled: “AI for good and bad” at the 6th annual Public Sector Innovation Conference.

This year’s Public Sector Innovation Conference will look at interesting ways in which people are using AI to innovate in our public services. A new conference format will alternate thoughtful keynotes and panel discussions with lots of quick-fire examples of early “lighthouse” projects, as we ask, ‘what are the challenges specific to using AI to deliver public services?’ and, ‘what are the lessons learnt so far in the journey from procurement to delivery?’

Event overview

Gen AI burst into the public consciousness on 30th November 2022 and already has 100 million regular monthly users.

Gen AI is already being used in small pockets internally within public sector organisations, and in a much more limited way to support direct citizen interactions. However, usage remains piecemeal, as its implementation seems to hang mainly on the knowledge and existing skills of CTOs across Government.

In May 2023 The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life argued that public sector organisations are not being sufficiently transparent about their use of AI and that it is too difficult to find out where machine learning is currently being used in government. More recently the EU Bloc has called for less restrictive thinking by Governments when regulating generative AI, and arguing that there was a far greater risk of such behaviour stifling innovation.

Most recently, in November 2023 the UK government held the first Global Safety Summit to bring together international governments, leading AI companies and civil society groups to consider the risks of AI, especially at the frontier of development.

During the day, we will consider the opportunities such technologies present for the way in which our public services are currently organised and run. Can departmental structures and traditional organisational silos be modernised so we could potentially create a public sector LLM as well as cross-departmental data lakes?

The benefits, if achieved, could free up resources and staff to deliver more valuable frontline tasks as well as reduce costs. The conference day is in three parts with interlocking themes. Each session will comprise a keynote, a panel to discuss the topic in detail, and then 5 lighthouse examples of projects already underway to inspire the audience.

We intend that our audience will feel informed about how the public sector should engage with AI, and leave with a good understanding of the ethics and risks as well as benefits of using AI to deliver public services.

Session overview

How do we strike the balance between AI being used for bad (e.g. lowering the barrier to entry to criminality, or for cyber attacks) and AI being used for good (e.g. allowing otherwise marginalised societies in the global South access to technologies, or advancements in health research).

So far the global narrative around AI has been largely a negative one, reinforcing how AI is being used for bad, and is not exploring enough the positive opportunities that come from AI.

Now in its 6th year, the 2024 PSI conference will be scrutinising the potential to use AI to make our public services much smarter, efficient and more productive. A particular focus will be on exemplar, ‘lighthouse’ projects already leading the way across different departments.

Andrew will be joining key leaders from the public sector. More information is available on the event website.