Artificial intelligence has the potential to improve the services provided to citizens, relieve workers performing repetitive tasks, reduce processing times and thus make public administration more efficient.
At the same time, particularly if AI is used in labour and social administration, all stakeholders involved in its introduction must look very carefully where and how AI is applied. That is because decisions made in this sensitive area can have significant impacts on the lives of citizens, for instance, in relation to the granting of social benefits. Statutory requirements must be observed in this context. For example, discretionary powers for decisions can only be exercised by humans.
AI already in selective use
AI is already used in selected areas by the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and the pension and accident insurance - and with great success. For example, the Berufsgenossenschaft Energie Textil Elektro Medienerzeugnisse (BG ETEM), introduced an AI-based system in its legal recourse department, for which it received an award in September 2020 as part of the 19th German eGovernment Competition. The Federal Employment Agency has deployed AI-based image analysis in its family welfare department for automatically recognising certificates of study. Over the next few years, we can also expect to see AI used increasingly in other areas of labour and social administration.
In order for administrative staff and citizens to trust the AI systems used, they must meet the highest quality standards, be developed in a human-centred way and the decisions must be non-discriminatory and comprehensible.
The Policy Lab Digital, Work & Society coordinates the Network AI in labour and social administration
To discuss how best to guarantee these high standards, the Policy Lab Digital, Work & Society is bringing together the expertise of the relevant departments of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and its area of responsibility such as the Federal Employment Agency Federal German Social Accident Insurance and the Federal German Pension Insurance in a network.
Here, representatives from the ministry and its area of responsibility will hold detailed discussions regarding the potentials of AI in labour and social administration. The goal is to share experiences at expert level and to develop self-committing guidelines for practical use of AI in labour and social administration settings. This exchange will take place in so-called AI Labs, which are due to be held – remotely to begin with – at regular intervals of four to six weeks up to springtime 2022.