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AI Can be a Helpful Tool for Government to Deliver Public Services

Case studies in the report highlight how a competitive selection process may spell the way forward to discover and initiate pioneering AI technology in public service delivery

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging as a helpful tool for governments in the Asia Pacific region to deliver public services, revealed a new UN-Google report on Wednesday.

The study by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Google cited case studies highlighting the importance of partnerships between governments and technology firms for the delivery of public services.

Among the case studies that the report mentioned included an AI initiative in India that informs farmers of the best sowing date to increase crop yields.

The state governments in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka teamed up with Microsoft to develop predictive AI services to help smallholder farmers to improve their crop yields and give them greater price control.

Since 2016 three applications have been developed. The report discussed two of these apps — the AI sowing app and the price forecasting model.

Both of the AI applications improved the lives of smallholder farmers in southern India by bridging information gaps and mitigating growing environmental risks. These AI services have the potential to increase crop yields, prices and incomes, the study concluded.

“The best part of the project is that the investment required by the farmers to benefit from the technology is minimal: all they need are a mobile phone capable of receiving text messages and a subscription to the most basic mobile phone services,” said the report.

Clearly, to make a technology accessible and affordable is a crucial step towards technology for inclusiveness.

artificial intelligence, nobel prize
“Artificial intelligence is now one of the fastest-growing areas in all of science and one of the most talked-about topics in society.” VOA

“On the path to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, governments in Asia and the Pacific are urgently pursuing innovative means to deliver effective, efficient and fair public services,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.

“Frontier technologies such as AI hold promise to reimagine how the public sector can better serve sustainable development needs.”

The report also features insights as well as context-specific recommendations from deployments of AI in a variety of sectors: health, justice, agriculture, environment, insurance and social welfare.

Public-private partnerships will become increasingly important to complement government initiatives with industry knowledge and expertise, said the report.

Also Read: Intel All Set to Acquire Smart Edge Platform from Pivot Technology

Amid the rapid pace of technological development, the report recommends that governments develop frameworks to regulate these partnerships and encourage more public information on AI projects to foster a landscape conducive to informed decision-making on AI partnerships.

Since applying AI in the public sector is still at an early stage of development, setbacks and a trial-and-error process may be inevitable.

Case studies in the report highlight how a competitive selection process may spell the way forward to discover and initiate pioneering AI technology in public service delivery. (IANS)

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Spain Takes a Step Forward to Combat Climate Change

Spain Declares Climate Emergency, Gets Climate Plan Ready

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Climate Change
People march during a worldwide protest demanding action on climate change in Barcelona, Spain. VOA

Spain’s new government declared a national climate emergency on Tuesday, taking a formal first step toward enacting ambitious measures to fight climate change.

The declaration approved by the Cabinet says the left-of-center Socialist government will send to parliament within 100 days its proposed climate legislation. The targets coincide with those of the European Union, including a reduction of net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

Spain’s coalition government wants up to 95% of the Mediterranean country’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2040. The plan also foresees eliminating pollution by buses and trucks and making farming carbon neutral.

Climate Change
Young environmentalists demonstrate to demand measures against climate change. VOA

Details of the plan are to be made public when the proposed legislation is sent to parliament for approval.

More than two dozen countries and scores of local and regional authorities have declared a climate emergency in recent years.

Scientists say the decade that just ended was by far the hottest ever measured on Earth, capped off by the second-warmest year on record.

Also Read- Music Streaming Giant Spotify Works On New Feature To Share Story Alongside Public Playlists

Also Tuesday, young climate activists including Greta Thunberg told the elites gathered at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland they are not doing enough to deal with the climate emergency and warned them that time was running out. (VOA)