Policy development represents one of the most prominent applications of cloud computing and HPC for public administrations at local, regional and national levels, for harvesting vast amounts of data, including governmental databases and interactions with the citizens, data from public infrastructures, as well as from alternative sources such as social networks and the public internet, while improving the scalability, cost-efficiency, flexibility and quality of public services.
The use of AI-based solutions for data-driven policymaking can adddress technical and organisational challenges such as:
- Access to Cloud and HPC resources: Scalable infrastructures for storing and analysing datasets are not readily available within public authorities.
- Transparency: Several AI systems operate as “black-boxes”, making their use challenging, since policymaking must be transparent in terms of the rationale behind the proposed policies and the factual data that drive policy developments.
- Trustworthiness: AI systems for policymaking must be secure, safe and resilient against malicious attempts, as well as address the ethical AI challenges (as analysed by EU’s High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Artificial Intelligence).
- End-to-End Integration: AI’s potential in policymaking is significantly underexploited, given it provides opportunities for automating and supporting policymaking activities, including front office, middle office, and back-office activities.
- Organizational Transformation: The introduction of AI systems in policymaking leads to automation and efficiency, yet it challenges peoples’ roles and responsibilities, requiring significant upskilling and reskilling for policy making experts and other employees of the public administration.
To this end, AI4PublicPolicy will deliver, validate, demonstrate and promote a novel Open Cloud platform (i.e. AI4PublicPolicy platform) for automated, scalable, transparent and citizen-centric policy management based on unique AI technologies. The AI4PublicPolicy platform will be an Open Virtualized Policy Management Environment (VPME) that will provide fully-fledged policy development/management functionalities based on AI technologies such as Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL), NLP and chatbots, while leveraging citizens’ participation and feedback. It will support the entire policy development lifecycle, based on technologies for the extraction, simulation, evaluation and optimization of interoperable and reusable public policies, with emphasis on citizen-centric policies development and optimization through the realization of citizen-oriented feedback loops. AI4PublicPolicy will complement public policy development functionalities with the ever-important process reengineering and organization transformation activities towards ensuring the effective transition from legacy policy development models to emerging AI-based policymaking. The AI4PublicPolicy VPME will be integrated with EOSC with a dual objective. First to facilitate access to the Cloud and HPC resources of EOSC/EGI that are required to enable the project’s AI tools, and second to boost the sustainability and wider use of the project’s developments. AI4PublicPolicy’s business plan for sustaining, expanding and commercializing the AI tools and the VPME is based on the development of a community of interested and engaged stakeholders (i.e. public authorities and other policymakers) around the project’s platform.