Artificial Intelligence is Crucial to the Future of Public Administration

1 minute read

Last week, the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto released a report suggesting that the government of Canada, particularly Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) had been reckless in its piecemeal adoption of artificial intelligence. The report suggests that an unprepared public service might accidentally introduce discriminatory AI into its processes and violate human rights.

The issue of adopting AI into the public administration is one which the IOG has followed closely and written about on many occasions, and after a close reading of the Citizen Lab report, our team concluded that there were significant analytical gaps and that the report suffered from several important conceptual missteps. We responded immediately through a letter to the editor published in the Globe and Mail, and later in a more detailed piece on the IOG’s website.

While there will no doubt be challenges and growing pains as the public service continues to catch-up in its adoption of AI, particularly as uncomfortable adjustments of old standards and policies become increasingly necessary, the Canadian public service is on the right track and is globally recognized as such. AI in government is here to stay and the best we can do is to ensure the safe and careful experimentation of AI technologies continues to be undertaken and that the public service is given access to the tools its needs to be effective.

About the author

Mark Robbins

Mark Robbins

Senior Researcher

Mark's work principally addresses impact of the digital revolution on government, governance and public administration as well as how government itself impacts technological development through its actions. Mark can be found working on a range of projects related to 21st century policy areas including modernization, innovation and digital government.

Prior to joining the IOG, he held various research positions on economic and political affairs, including at the Munk School at the University of Toronto, the Conference Board of Canada, UN-ESCAP, the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Parliament of Canada.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Social Science in Political Science from the University of Ottawa, an M.A. in Political Economy from Carleton University and a certificate in commerce from Mohawk College.

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