A North London council will be one of the first government bodies to employ a self learning robotic ‘supercomputer’ to help with customer services.
The virtual employee called ‘Amelia’ will be deployed instead of human council workers to “deliver front line public services” for the first time.
— IPsoft Incorporated (@ipsoft) June 16, 2016
New York-based technology firm IPsoft announced that its technology platform, will be deployed to work within Enfield Council in a ground-breaking program to improve local service delivery across the borough.
Enfield council is set to roll out the new ‘virtual employee’ in the autumn
This is the first time that an AI will be implemented in the public sector, and its usage has been described as a significant milestone for the council’s overall digital strategy.
Amelia, the product of IPsoft, is described as a ‘virtual agent’ which can analyse and comprehend natural language, capable of understanding context and even emotions, as well as learning from its experiences.
When Amelia goes live with Enfield Council later this year, the AI will help citizens with various tasks such as completing standard application forms. The system is also expected to be used on the website to help folks navigate web pages and find the information they’re looking for.
Amelia-powered services should start going live in the autumn, with the council stating that the AI is a great way to deliver better services to the public without increasing costs.
Frank Lansink, CEO EU at IPsoft, enthused: “Public organisations around the world, and particularly in the UK, are under considerable pressure to deliver more with less. The consumer digital revolution has opened up interesting new service delivery routes for public bodies, but has also placed high expectations on them, as citizens desire a seamless digital customer experience.
“With the rise of powerful cognitive platforms such as Amelia, government organisations have an opportunity to completely reimagine how frontline public services are delivered. Organisations can not only unlock significant cost efficiencies as routine, high-volume tasks are automated, but, more excitingly, can unlock the full creative potential of their people.”
Amelia has already been adopted by a number of organisations in the private sector, including several banks.
However, Enfield Council, which has suffered more than 300 redundancies in the past year, did not disclose how much it paid for Amelia.
Enfield Council’s Director of Finance, Resource and Customer Services James Rolf said there are “no plans” to fire any of the 50 call center employees, but Amelia has triggered fears that more jobs may soon be at risk.
Around 35 percent of all jobs in the UK are at a high risk of robotization by 2036, according to a recent study by Oxford and Deloitte.