Machine learning: What’s in it for government?
Machine learning (ML) allows governments to deliver better, more cost-effective, and citizen-friendly services. We talked with three Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers from government authorities and institutes who shared their stories about how ML helped them transform their services and their organizations. These customers gathered at an executive learning track curated particularly for European Government delegates, as part of AWS re:Invent 2018.
The National Health Service Business Services Authority
The United Kingdom’s (UK) National Health Service Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), the organization overseeing the delivery of primary care, dental and prescription services to UK citizens, told us how they introduced Amazon Connect, a cloud-based chatbot to its contact center service to increase its capacity to respond to customer needs.
Chris Suter, Lead Cloud Architect of Digitisation, Insight, and Technology Solutions, shared the results of this investment with the group. In the first three weeks of its implementation, the chatbot helped NHSBSA respond to approximately 11,000 calls, addressing simple queries and rerouting complicated queries to staff who can provide more support. This helped NHSBSA save USD $650,000 per year.
NHSBSA used Amazon Lex to ensure that the calls were routed automatically and answered correctly, and they used Amazon Polly to simulate human-like speech. The ML-powered front end handles 40 percent of inbound calls, making staff available with an almost-zero customer queue time.
“This not only resulted in higher efficiency and cost savings for NHSBSA, but also boosted the morale of employees as they could focus their efforts on providing adequate guidance to customers with more complicated questions,” Suter said.
The Belgian public employment service VDAB
Another AWS customer, Belgian public employment service VDAB, wanted to know how they could use machine learning to improve job-matching, that is finding the right opportunities for the right people. Radix.ai’s JobNet used a deep learning model to enhance this function. With each new dataset, the engine learns how the job market evolves, noting changes in job demand and how trends shift over time.
The deep learning model goes beyond analysis of words in job descriptions and resumes to include information on interests and talents of job seekers. By using this service, employment officials want to provide better and faster connections between job seekers and available jobs.
The Royal Institute of Blind People
The impact of machine learning on people with disabilities has also been transformative. The Royal Institute of Blind People (RNIB) uses Amazon Polly to provide the UK’s largest community of blind and partially sighted people with reading services. RNIB’s Talking Books service provides access to over 26,000 audiobooks, free of charge. For millions of people in the UK, this service can be life changing.
More and more government customers are discovering that ML can be a game-changing technology for their users, and in turn for their businesses. These examples serve as starting points for governments.
About the AWS Institute
The AWS Institute, which curated this program, will publish more blog posts on how machine learning has an impact on the public sector.
The AWS Institute convenes global leaders who share an interest in solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges using technology. The Institute convenes leaders from government, academia, and nonprofit organizations for private discussions to explore innovative ideas to transform the public sector. For a related blog post on how to prepare governments for digital transformation, check out How Can Government Grow and Recruit Digital Talent? The Case of the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
About the Author
Maysam Ali is Global Content Lead for the Amazon Web Services Institute. She writes about the impact of technology on society. She helps governments, nonprofits and educational leaders better understand how they can use new technologies, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, to address major societal challenges.
Leonardo Quattrucci is the Lead for Europe, Middle East and Africa for the Amazon Web Services Institute. He works with government executives to accelerate public sector transformation. By innovating on policy processes and building digital competencies, he is helping leaders use technology to deliver better citizen services.