The UK Government has started championing the use of AI to replace the roles usually held by civil servants. According to the Financial Times, Oliver Dowden, the UK Deputy Prime Minister, is preparing to roll out a ‘red box’ tool in order to automate some of the tasks that are usually done by civil servants.

Introducing the ‘red box’

According to the outlet, the ‘red box’ tool absorbs and summarizes information from sources like the parliamentary record. It’s also reported that a second, similar tool is being tested to complete work like individualized responses to parliamentary inquiries.

These types of tasks, Dowden adds, would usually take up to three months with 25 civil servants — and while we don’t know how long it takes with these AI tools by comparison, it’s probably safe to assume that it speeds things up considerably. But don’t worry, everyone hasn’t lost their mind just yet — reportedly, this tool will be used in conjunction with human sourcing rather than replacing it entirely.

“It really is the only way, I think, if we want to get on a sustainable path to headcount reduction,” Dowden is quoted by the Telegraph as saying. “Remember how much the size of the Civil Service has grown as a result of the pandemic and EU exit preparedness. We need to really embrace this stuff to drive the numbers down.”

He added that according to a recent report from the IPPR think tank; the Government is estimated to save up to £24 billion using AI.

But while the Government is plowing £110 million into this initiative, not everyone is so confident.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told the Telegraph: “Ministers shouldn’t be waiting for technological innovations to deal with the bloated bureaucracy; they should roll up their sleeves and deal with it.”

Featured Image: Photo by George Dolgikh; Pexels

Charlotte Colombo

Freelance Journalist

Charlotte Colombo is a freelance journalist with bylines in, Radio Times, The Independent, Daily Dot, Glamour, Stylist, and VICE among others. She most recently worked as a Staff Writer for entertainment outlet The Digital Fix for two years and, prior to that, worked with Business Insider and Dexerto on their digital culture desks. She’s also appeared on BBC Radio 5 and The Guardian podcast to share her expertise on technology, influencers, and niche internet subcultures.

She holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London and has been freelancing for three years. She has a wide range of specialties including technology, digital culture, entertainment, lifestyle, and neurodiversity.’

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