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GDS plans to increase AI, Biometrics use in public sector

GDS announces new plans to expand AI and Biometrics across public services over the next year.

By April Slattery

Artificial intelligence (AI) and biometrics are next on the agenda for the Government Digital Service according to the latest plans outlined by its chief.

The new plans for the next twelve months aim to explore the potential of AI and biometrics in more government services, supporting existing and upcoming departments in the public sector. Kevin Cunnington, Chief at GDS, outlined the service’s plans in a blog post.

“Our team will help government departments and public bodies identify challenges they face that could be solved by new digital technologies. We are working to make sure things we build and run, including GOV.UK can make use of innovative technologies like machine learning and voice control,” Cunnington said.

GDS plans to increase AI, Biometrics use in public sector

The plans aim to better the services provided by public sector organisations.

Plans for the GDS also include expanding capabilities and opportunities for the GDS Academy, which launched in 2014. Cunnington said that the body is looking to develop a new training programme at the Academy, which will include subjects such as AI, geospatial data and distributed ledgers.

The recent plans also mirror the work being carried out under the new GovTech Catalyst Programme, which launched in November last year. Officials are expected to work with an Office for AI and industry experts, in order to develop the technology as a more in-depth role in public services.

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In his blog post, Cunnington discussed the aims and outcomes of the Programme. He said: “Our team will help government departments and public bodies identify challenges they face that could be solved by new digital technologies. We will then act as a ‘front door’ to tech firms, giving them a clear access point where they can put forward their innovative ideas.”

The GDS plans follow the recent discussion between the Home Office and Science and Technology Committee, which brought the government body under fire regarding the role out of the strategy. Biometrics plans in place include the rollout of facial recognition and fingerprints, expected to be brought into force by Spring this year.

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